“David Hopkins disappointingly wants to bring a nationalistic Neitzcheian critique to the party,” types Steve Hudson furiously. “ I’d like to redress the balance with my recent polemic: Lord Beefy – Betrayal Of The English Working Class: A Vic Marksist Dialectic.
And for what it’s worth, the correct conclusion is Almond Slices.”
Iain Gray has it in for David too. “I’m afraid that David Hopkins has self-disqualified. As any fule kno, When discussing the development of the Neitszchean concept of strength, the go-to authority on the matter is always Bruce Willis. As, of course, it is with most things…”
And with that, the teams take a rain-enforced lunch! Back at 1.25 for England to have their second crack of the whip.
24.3 overs: West Indies 84-5 ( Blackwood 1, Chase 4) Target 399. “Raining in Timperley now so should be with you in 10 minutes or so,” warns Marcus Adams. It’s quicker than that! The players run off the pitch and the hover cover floats to the middle in the flick of a wrist.
23rd over: West Indies 83-5 ( Blackwood 1, Chase 4) Target 399. Sorry, squabbling children being a complete pain in front of the television, but nothing much to report.
Adam Hirst has good news for Dave Godman. “Hey Tanya – you can tell Dave Godman that I’ll ask me dad. He was there. He might even remember if we’re lucky.As for Pete Salmon. Oh Pete… Schoolboy Errors on Bakewells and Chappells. How is anyone ever going to trust him again?”
22nd over: West Indies 81-5 ( Blackwood 1, Chase 4) Target 399. Blackwood wafts at Archer in a not completely convincing way.
21st over: West Indies 79-5 ( Blackwood, 0 Chase 3) Target 399. Can West Indies salvage something from this? Seems doubtful but let’s see what Blackwood and Chase can do.
WICKET! Brooks c Buttler b Woakes 22
An inside-edge as West Indies capitulate towards an early finish. A loose shot really from Brooks and a second for Woakes this morning.
20th over: West Indies 76-4 (Brooks 22, Chase 0 ) Target 399. Brooks unwittingly nudges Archer down to the third man for four and then survives the rest of the over.
“I’m unhappy with both Robert Wilson and Peter Salmon’s prospectuses, and don’t feel they merit the use of the OBO’s limited bakewell tart budget,” types David Hopkins, reaching deep into the biscuit barrel. “I’d be happy to provide a module on Neitszche’s Superman concept, which is clearly informed by Viv Richards and 2005-vintage Flintoff. Happy also to complement this with discussion of whether what doesn’t kill you actually does make you stronger, with reference to Kelly Clarkson’s development of the concept.”
19th over: West Indies 72-4 (Brooks 14, Chase 0 ) Target 399. A terrible shot by Hope.
WICKET! Hope c Broad b Woakes 31
Oh Shai! From the sublime to a bog-standard toe-end skew, to Broad running in at mid-on who takes an awkward catch high up by his shoulders.
18th over: West Indies 68-3 (Brooks 14, Hope 31) Target 399. A double change as Archer gets his first bowl of the day. Hope watches for a couple of deliveries but then unwraps two cover-drives of the highest quality – think expensive Christmas praline truffles in ridiculously OTT packaging.
17th over: West Indies 60-3 (Brooks 14, Hope 23) Target 399. Root decides it is time for a change and Woakes springs into the attack. Brooks slices him through gully for four first ball – not sure how deliberate that was.
“Not to take issue with Peter Salmon,” sniff Matt Robbins, “ but he’s a splitter. Surely we OBOers agreed a few days ago – Bakewell Slices.”
Surely not Mr Kipling?
16th over: West Indies 54-3 (Brooks 8, Hope 23) Target 399 At the end of his run Broad consults Anderson about a minutiae of this or that. A couple of balls later, Brooks, square drives for four, all monocle and top hat.
David Godman was there for another milestone moment: “I remember as a boy of eleven watching Fred Trueman take his 300th test wicket on TV, coming out after lunch on a hattrick and 299 wickets. The commentator said the pubs around the ground had all emptied as locals piled in to see if he could reach the landmark in style. Those were the days when you could, on a whim, wander along to an Oval Ashes match ticketless during the lunch break and still expect to get in for the afternoon session. Is there anywhere to check crowd attendances for that day (August 15th, 1964) to see what kind of crowd surge there might have been?”
Oooh, it must be there in Wisden somewhere, if anyone can get their hands on the 1965 edition?
15 overs: West Indies 48-3 (Brooks 3, Hope 22) Target 399 A maiden from Anderson. Incidentally, Broad has picked up the last seven wickets that West Indies have lost.
“While reminiscing about the OBO it would seem remiss not to point out that the OBOcassionals cricket team is still going strong,” writes Nicholas Clark. “This year’s tour is of course off but so far we have trekked to Estonia, Finland, Italy, Croatia, Portugal, Hungary and various spots of the UK. More players are of course welcome”
14 overs: West Indies 48-3 (Brooks 3, Hope 22) Target 399 Of all the blocks of 100 wickets, the block that took Broad from 400-500 came at the lowest average and the lowest strike rate. Put that in your pipe Ed Smith and tell him you’re planning for the future.
WICKET! Brathwaite lbw Broad 19
The 500th! Broad squares Brathwaite up, and the ball squirts up to hit him on the back pad. A happy, happy bowler is congratulated by his team-mates with a special half man-hug from his old mucker Anderson. For reasons of symmetry, it is very pleasing that Brathwaite was Anderson’s 500 wicket too.
13 overs: West Indies 41-2 (Brathwaite 15, Hope 22) Target 399 Hope drives Anderson through the covers, with a sharp swish of the bat, and the ball floats for four. In the slips, trousers are flapping.
“I note with some sorrow that you have given oxygen to the lunatic rantings of one Robert Wilson in the 11th over, who presumes to speak as the moral compass that OBO requires,” huffs Peter Salmon. “No, no and a thousand times no. Having attended his IVA Richards Studies (The One True Way) back in the 90s, all I can say is his grasp of both deontology and Antiguan historiography is at best scant, at worst perverse. It would ill behove me to put myself forward of course, although my study ‘Greg Chappell, the Underarm and post-Kantian Ethics’ is still seen as groundbreaking in the fields of gender studies and the politics of alterity. A small retainer would be sufficient, indexed to my need for bakewell tarts.”
12 overs: West Indies 35-2 (Brathwaite 15, Hope 16) Target 399 Broad’s half-completed over is completed without incident. During the rain break, we learn that Stuart Broad spent half an hour talking to the young West Indian quicks about bowling yesterday. From master to apprentice.
The sheets are off at Old Trafford and the tractor is circling with rope – which always seems a terribly low-fi way of mopping up but I guess it works.
Dom Smith has tickled a few OBOers. “Dom Smith has the right idea, just not ambitious enough, writes Anthony Farmer. “ I used to live in SW Virginia and (frustrated by the Spring NASCAR race always being rained out) there was talk of putting a roof on Bristol Motor Speedway. 600 foot straights and grandstands 21 stories high! Presumably this would also have involved the world’s most powerful extractor fans or else 162,000 inebriated race fans would have been asphyxiated in double quick time.
Richard Adams too. “I love the precision of 59.43 metres to the boundary – pity the poor groundsman expected to measure to 1 centimetre! Presumably it was 65 yards and when it was converted to metres, no one felt brave enough to make it a round 60.”
And the players are back out…
Short and sweet from Andy Bradshaw:
“Broad and Jimmy looking utterly innocuous. We’re doooooooomed.”
Don’t worry, I won’t tell them where you live.
And to Headingley, where Sam Charlton is on duty. “Good Morning Tanya, Here’s to a fabulous day of cricket. I hope West Indies do try and put up a fight.”
“I’m actually emailing you from Headingley stadium. As I am on duty as a nurse at the closed doors game between Yorkshire and Durham. I must say, being back here and watching cricket is a real thrill. I hope spectators can come back in a socially distant way for the season.”
Thanks Sam, for all you do. And well done for wangling a shift at Headingley. Hope you have a stress-free day.
Rain stops play
11.3 overs: West Indies 35-2 (Brathwaite 15, Hope 16) Target 399 Broad demands a mid-off and gets a mid-off; Brathwaite clips him for four through mid-on, it starts raining and the players zoot off the field. I don’t think we’ll be off for too long though. Ground sheets are carried out to the middle, billowing in the gusts.
11th over: West Indies 29-2 (Brathwaite 9, Hope 16) Target 399 Of the two, Anderson looking the more dangerous this morning. I wait to be proved completely wrong. He beats Hope with one that nips in and, somehow, I don’t know how, just misses everything that it should have hit.
“Before we drown in waves of Guy Hornsby’s clubbable sentimentality,” snarls Robert Wilson,” may I point out that almost everyone who writes into the OBO is palpably evil, flagrantly diagnosable or, at the very least, in the throes of lunatic paroxysms of identity theft (that MacMillings bloke covers all three). There’s serious bad feeling about DRS, a pernicious nostalgia for sociopathic Aussie quicks of the ‘70s and generally unacceptable levels of perviness about the blameless and upright Ian Bell. What the OBO needs more than anything is a moral guide and ethical lodestar. Just to let you know that there’s a sudden window in my availability. I have considerable experience and am board-certified in IVA Richards Studies (The One True Way).”
10th over: West Indies 21-2 (Brathwaite 8, Hope 9) Target 399 Broad roars out a two-armed lbw appeal against Brathwaite, but it hits him high on the thigh and Root is is not interested. Brathwaite strides forward, shows the next ball the full face of the bat, and sends it tumbling away for four.
9th over: West Indies 16-2 (Brathwaite 4, Hope 8) Target 399 A gorgeous length from Anderson has Brathwaite prodding awkwardly in defence.
“Were it in my ambit, I would willingly give you Lyon’s sun in exchange for Manchester’s squally damp and probable showers, for the sake of a great day’s cricket,” writes Alistair Connell, safe in the embrace of southern France.
“I would add ten degrees Celsius, surplus to requirements here, into the bargain. June last year in Manchester wasn’t at all like that, NZ/WI was sunny and hot (though it may have rained every other day of our visit, now that I think of it)“
If I remember rightly, the beginning of the World Cup was miserable, but as it moved north, the weather started behaving.
8th over: West Indies 14-2 (Brathwaite 2, Hope 8) Target 399 The main man has the ball from the Brian Statham end. White hankerchief bandana, hair and shirt flapping in the wind. Hope throws the bat at a wide one and it flies away to the third man boundary.
7th over: West Indies 10-2 (Brathwaite 2, Hope 4) Target 399 From the Jimmy Anderson end, it is… Jimmy Anderson. A strong westerly wind is storming across Old Trafford – Anderson said pre-start how much more difficult he has found bowling at Old Trafford since they switched the pitch around. His fourth ball is a beauty, keeping a little bit low and passing Brathwaite’s outside edge. A maiden.
“Dom Smith’s idea is a good one in principle,” pens Tom Atkins, “but I can’t see how you can make it fit. The width of the Millennium Stadium pitch is 79m, so your boundaries won’t be more than 40m from the centre of the wicket. ICC rule 20.1.3 of Men’s Match Playing Conditions states that boundaries should be no less than 59.43 metres from the centre of the pitch. So the pitch would only be two thirds of the size required and I think you’d end up with a boundary so short as to fundamentally alter the game being played.”
Hmmm, thank you for doing the maths. Great idea though.
Oh! Such a lovely message from Guy Hornsby.
“Can I just say how much I enjoyed yesterday’s OBO? And I didn’t even read it until this morning. I had all sorts going on and only really read a few entries but I couldn’t not get to today without getting up to speed. That’s how much of a cricket companion it is to so many of us. I started back in 2005, and can’t imagine cricket without it. It’s so ephemeral really, seeing those you’ve never met as old friends, such is those recurring names, (though I’ve actually met messrs Naylor, Smyth, Nair, Frame and a few others way back when in a pub one Sunday), and also every new poster or lurker, wrapped up like a warm comfort blanket that arrives like green tops in May. Likewise the Guardian writers, all heroes of the OBO. I still get that frisson of excitement when something’s published. I hope that never goes. YOU LOT.”
Thank you so much Guy. It is an honour to do this job, I’m a latecomer to the party and love it. You readers are so tolerant of our foibles and so very lovely to interact with. But enough! Play is about to start.
Michael Atherton reports a strong westerly wind and possible showers on the radar this morning – something for which Dom Smith proposes a solution.
“To get around the weather problem and seeing as everything is changing by the day, how about playing all Tests in the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff with the roof closed. They could have a drop in strip in the centre and short boundaries (i.e. the touch lines) would be the same for both teams.”
“Any conditions to achieve authenticity could be reproduced such as sprinklers to mimic rain and some kind of heater on top of the strip to mimic hot sunshine baking the pitch.Solved!”
Quick, get on the phone to ECB Towers!
“Just with relation to your last update,” writes Jason Moran. “ I was under the impression from what I’ve heard on the radio previously that all media and broadcasters were staying at the hotel at Old Trafford. Is this not the case?”
“I know Jonathan Agnew recounted the story of a newly married couple, he works for the BBC, she works for Sky, and they are staying in the same hotel but within their collective media protective bubbles, so can only wave at each other from a distance.”
Ah, my bad. I think all broadcasters are in the Old Trafford Hilton, though I believe print media can stay outside the bubble. I’m actually in my front room a couple of miles from the ground.
Morning Matt Winter!
While we rightly bask in the glow of another Anderson/Broad summer, wasn’t this supposed to be the summer of speed with Wood and Archer in fearsome harness?Archer – 4 wickets at 45. Wood (one test so unfair) – 2 at 55. Not sure how that helps the next Ashes campaign. Bah humbug
Perhaps no-one told Broad and Anderson? Let’s judge Archer and Wood when the sun comes out again. The Pakistan Tests are at Old Trafford (ah) and, the more likely sun-trap, The Rose Bowl. Of course, England’s rotation policy now looks dead in the water so opportunities could be limited…
Just been for a quick stroll – the best word I can think of to describe the Manchester weather this morning is “autumnal.”
Some emails have already slithered into my inbox.
“Hey Tanya,” writes Brendan Large from Norway. “I know it was questioned in the last Test OBO but did we ever get a definitive answer on why there is no option to start early on a day like today? Surely after losing a whole day’s overs and with a less than perfect forecast for the day it would’ve been wise to have an extra hour (or two) to get the game finished? Obviously if you’re West Indian this would be a less attractive solution.”
A similar missive from Joe in Bath, “I’m sure I’m the millionth person saying this but if we’re going to play two tests in Manchester can we at least !! have the option !! to !! start !! early !!”
It!! Does!! Seem!! Daft!! The excuse is usually that it is too difficult for punters to get to a ground early. Now it might be broadcasters? I would suggest dew but they start Championship games at 10.30am in September so that can’t be a problem. I guess both teams shake on playing conditions at the beginning of the series and don’t read the small-print – much like the rules for a tie in the World Cup last year.
Weather update: The covers are still on at Old Trafford, but the rain has stayed away for now. There’s even the odd bit of sun, and hopes are high that we’ll get started on time.
For anyone involved in the enjoyable OBO debate yesterday about the 2005 attack v 2020 vintage, here is Vic’s take – albeit referencing 2008.
Here we go again! Welcome to the final day of the Test series between England and West Indies with the series still poised 1-1 after yesterday’s washout. Farewell too, to the Wisden trophy, which enjoys one last day in the sun before retiring to a great wall cabinet either in Antigua or London. All depends, probably, on the Manchester weather which, as I write this 90 minutes before play is due to start, is squally with a hint of damp.
There is a fifty per cent chance of rain between about 1 and 3 o’clock, so England will want to wrap this up quickly. Stuart Broad needs no encouragement – just one wicket away from becoming only the second England cricketer ever to reach 500 wickets. Incidentally, for anyone interested in this sort of trivia, his 100th Test wicket was Mahela Jayawardene , 200th Michael Clarke, 300th Chris Rogers and 400th Tom Latham.
West Indies, 10-2, are chasing an unlikely 399 to win a series in England for the first time since 1988. More realistically, they will be aiming to survive. Whatever happens, English cricket will forever be in their debt for flying from paradise to these Covid-isles.