EletiofeEngland v West Indies: third Test, day one –...

England v West Indies: third Test, day one – live!


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44th over: England 114-3 (Burns 54, Pope 13) Pope laps at Cornwall and sends the ball purring through mid-wicket in a Merchant-Ivory kind of way for four.

“Good afternoon, Tanya.” Good afternoon Ian Forth!

“Had a thought about a good cognitive test for a concussed cricketer. Show them a picture of Kapil Dev and ask whether he should be classified as a genuine world class all-rounder, according to Guardian OBO contributors.”

Who could say no to this man?


The moustached has it. Photograph: Adrian Murrell/ALLSPORT


43rd over: England 109-3 (Burns 54, Pope 8) Holder, at second slip, and Dowrich dispute how back he should stand, as Gabriel sends down a maiden. The heavyweights on from both ends for West Indies at the moment.

I see that Cornwall ran through England Lions in Jamaica when playing for West Indies A in February 2018, 5-68. Some familiar names in that England line-up. A Snog, Marry, Avoid, of recent Test hopes.

42nd over: England 109-3 (Burns 54, Pope 8) Thank you Rob, what an excellent discussion on all-rounders and their variations. Also concerned that I missed the missive about OBO writers needing statistics tattooed on their thighs. Anyway, Cornwall slurps in first ball after tea, lands one wide of off stump and Burns schleps it to the boundary.

41st over: England 104-3 (Burns 50, Pope 7) Shannon Gabriel replaces the excellent Kemar Roach (11.4-1-25-2). After a few harmless deliveries he moves around the wicket, who tucks him off the hip for a single to reach an unobtrusive fifty from 126 balls. Well played. He scores forgettable runs, which is a very good quality in an opener.

It’s time for drinks, which is my cue to hand over to Tanya Aldred. You can email her on [email protected], or tweet her @tjaldred. Thanks for your company and emails (only 42 unread now) – bye!

Burns celebrates his half century with Pope.

Burns celebrates his half century with Pope. Photograph: Reuters


40th over: England 103-3 (Burns 49, Pope 7) Pope walks down the pitch and clips Cornwall into the leg side for three. He looks like the kind of character who won’t be unnerved by a few low scores and can rationalise them as part of cricket’s eccentricity. He has started like a man in form – busy, purposeful and light on his feet.

“Quite what one calls them is (as we have learned) open to question, but have England ever fielded a No6 and 7 with just two Test centuries between them in 133 innings?” challenges Gary Naylor. “Centuries shape innings and England might be hearing ‘Last Orders’ in the saloon already. Hard to win Tests if your order is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 8, 8, 10, 11, 11.”

39th over: England 99-3 (Burns 48, Pope 4) Now it’s Pope’s turn for a concussion test after being hit on the helmet by Roach. He tried to pull and was beaten for pace, but he’s fine to continue. Burns then works a couple into the leg side to move within two of a patient fifty.

“Here’s Tom Bowtell. “I note that you demurely wrote: ‘Imran from 1982-92 (51 with the bat, 20 with the ball from memory)’ in over 29; when we all know that stat has been tattooed on your thigh since 1997.”

You’re wrong. What makes that stat even more impressive is that it’s been tattooed on my thigh since 1987.

38th over: England 96-3 (Burns 46, Pope 4)

37th over: England 93-3 (Burns 46, Pope 1) Pope, inexplicably scoreless in this series so far, works his first ball for a single to get off the mark. Roach, who was having a barren spell of his own until recently, has good figures of 10.4-1-23-2.

“Interesting comment from Peter Williams,” says David Murray. “But surely, no matter what the stats say, Botham was a better batsman than Imran Khan, and Khan was a better bowler.”

They sort of overlapped, didn’t they? I’d say Beefy was the better batsman up until around 1984, though I haven’t checked the data. It’s hard to judge Beefy because his numbers towards the end were relatively diabolical, which makes it even funnier that he managed to ruin Australia armed with little more than aura, a mullet and long hops.


36th over: England 92-3 (Burns 46, Pope 0) Rahkeem Cornwall continues to Burns, who comes down the track and drives straight to mid-on. A maiden. Cornwall’s five-step walk-up means he gets through his overs so quickly, which is particularly useful when you are on the hunt at the other end.

35th over: England 92-3 (Burns 46, Pope 0) “My Dear Rob,” says Robert Wilson. “Cricketing taxonomy is an innocent enough vice, (so and so is a lower-order biffer, thingamyjig is a left-arm trundler and Phil Edmonds was something we never understood). We all do it. But Kapil Dev resists all classifications bar one. Kapil was quite simply the most exhausted-looking cricketer in history. That’s because he was the most exhausted cricketer ever. To do him justice you need to be slightly disobliging about the Indian ‘pace’ attack of the era. Because he was it. For nearly a decade, he was an international strike force all on his own. His moustache didn’t droop that way because of fashion, it was the relentless gravity of uttermost (and sometimes thankless) effort. It was noble, magnificent and caused worship in all boyish hearts. To call such a man an all-rounder is near libellous. Kapil Dev looked permanently knackered because he was permanently knackered. He was a whole team. He gets his own genus.”


That was brilliant bowling from Roach, both the set up and the coup de grace. He pushed Stokes back with consecutive bouncers – the first hit him on the head, the second was swivel-pulled for four. Then, later in the over, he produced a beautiful nipbacker from round the wicket that roared through the gate and pegged back the off stump. Stokes looks suspiciously at the pitch, and may also feel he should have got a bigger stride in, but it was a terrific delivery.


WICKET! England 92-3 (Stokes b Roach 20)

Kemar Roach has knocked Stokes over with a ripper!

Stokes, bowled by Roach for 20.

Stokes, bowled by Roach for 20. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images for ECB


34.2 overs: England 88-2 (Burns 46, Stokes 16) Stokes, trying to hook, is clonked on the noggin by a beautiful bouncer from Roach. There will be a break in play while Stokes is checked. Roach appealed for caught behind but nobody else was particularly interested.

“To help Simon McMahon (over 25; 12:56), there is one genuine hangover cure,” says Andy Cooke. “And this isn’t a joke. A honey and banana sandwich, washed down with weak, sugary tea. It restores a whole bunch of minerals and vitamins that you’re missing (which cause the hangover) and helps rehydrate (dehydration also contributes to the hangover). Genuine cure. Actually works.”

Thanks very much for getting in touch, Andy. I’d love to send a proper reply but I urgently need to amend my grocery order for tonight.

34th over: England 88-2 (Burns 46, Stokes 16) Rahkeem Cornwall returns to the attack after a promising first spell of 7-1-24-0. A couple of singles, nothing else to report.

“Surely,” says Patrick Peake, “the England-specific category for ‘bits and pieces player’ is ‘The Next Botham’? Usually handed out when someone circa 1988-1995 hit a score of 30 or so when batting at No8. David Capel, Derek Pringle, Philip DeFreitas, Chris Lewis, Dominic Cork, Ian Austin…”

33rd over: Ingerlund Ingerlund Ingerluuuuuund! 86-2 (Burns 45, Stokes 15) Ben Stokes will always transcend statistics to some extent, but his numbers are still looking pretty good these days: 39 with the bat, 32 with the ball. I think the most relevant statistic with Stokes will always be Man of the Match ratio. He has nine in 66 Tests, which is very good, and four in the last 12, which is ludicrous.

“There’s only two top-class allrounders for me. Keith Miller and Imran Khan,” says Peter Williams. “I’d add Ellyse Perry to that list, but 8 Tests just isn’t enough of a record to judge. Sobers and Kallis were world-class batsmen who were very good bowlers, Botham and Pollock the opposite.”

32nd over: ENGLAND 84-2 (Burns 44, Stokes 14) Thanks to all who pointed out that I had Rory Burns and Ben Stokes batting for the West Indies. All I’d like to say is that I recently aced a cognitive test, and Joe Biden is a superb opening batsman.

Meanwhile, Burns and Stokes help themselves to seven runs from Holder’s over. No boundaries, just good old-fashioned running between the wicket.

“I’m sorry to say it, but I think the playing XI for this Test is a bottle job rather than anything to do with Stokes’ injury concerns,” says Dean Kinsella. “Following Broad’s very public reaction to being ‘rotated’ in the first test I don’t think anyone fancied telling him it’s his turn again. And the dropping of serial winner Curran is just too easy and convenient as the junior man, but also high risk due to the lightweight batting line-up. I’m not even going to start on the spin selection.”

I don’t agree with the team but nor do I think it’s a bottle job. If it was they would have left out the uncomplaining Woakes. I think they decided they would get more value from a fourth seamer who could bat as well as Woakes than they would from Crawley. Chris Silverwood strikes me as someone who doesn’t duck tough decisions, and I’m not just saying that because of preconceptions about Yorkshiremen.


31st over: England 77-2 (Burns 41, Stokes 10) Burns moves into the forties with a careful cover drive for two off Roach. A year ago this week, Burns failed twice against Ireland and was expected to be dropped for the Ashes. Since then he has 795 Test runs at 44.16.

Here’s John Starbuck on the subject of classifying lower-order batsmen. “You’d need a term for those instances where a tail-ender suddenly comes good, an Eddie Hemmings or Dizzy Gillespie scoring massively from a nightwatchman’s position. And what about the Greatest Number 1 Ever, Jack Leach?”

I’m not sure. If we get greedy, and try to create too many categories, we’re gonna kill this goddamn geeky golden goose!


30th over: England 75-2 (Burns 39, Stokes 10) Stokes turns an inswinger from Holder to leg for a couple to move into double figures. It’s been a careful start from Stokes, though that isn’t really news anymore. On Sky, Nasser spots that he jogged two earlier in the over rather than pressing for a third, which suggests he is feeling his quad injury. He’s not 100 per cent fit to bat, then, but even at 90 per cent he is well worth his place.

“Hi Rob,” says Phil Rebbeck. “Think you are wrong about Kapil Dev – a batting average of 31 in old money makes him indisputably an allrounder in my book.”

I think of him as a (magnificent) lower-middle-order hitter rather a proper batsman, and thus a true allrounder. He’s right on the borderline as a batsman, I’d say, a 6.5 rather than a No6. It’s notable that he batted No7 or lower in 163 of his 184 Test innings. Not that any of this really matters; he was still a glorious cricketer.


29th over: England 73-2 (Burns 39, Stokes 8) Roach also returns to the attack, a sign that Jason Holder thinks it’s now or later, maybe never, for the West Indies. Burns is beaten, trying to drive a tempting wider delivery.

“People often speak of batting all-rounders and bowling all-rounders,” says Romeo. “All-rounders could be plotted on a standard two-axis graph, one a continuum of quality, simply how good a player they are/were, and the other the equilibrium, the balance of how good they are/were at batting vs bowling (and you could have a third axis/dimension – fielding). In the bottom left you’d find your ‘bits and pieces’ player (very disrespectful), your Alan Ealhams (with great respect), and in the top right, who would you find? I know the answer to this.”

The obvious answer is Sobers but his bowling average is fairly high; same with Kallis. Hmm. Peak Botham, peak Sobers, Imran from 1982-92 (51 with the bat, 20 with the ball from memory), Keith Miller, Mike Procte- JUST TELL ME, MAN.


28th over: England 72-2 (Burns 39, Stokes 7) An eventful first over of the afternoon session. Burns cuts a loosener for four and then edges a fraction short of gully. Holder has been unlucky today. According to my sophisticated Expected Wickets model, which involves me thinking about a bowler’s performance for no longer than three seconds and then pulling a number from my hindquarters, he has an xW of 1.2 today.

“Not sure about anyone else,” says Neill Brown, “but the coverage I’m watching is being soundtracked by a low crowd murmur that’s constantly making me wait for “Tusk” by Fleetwood Mac to start.”

Ha. That brings to mind an old Mark Morriss one-liner about putting the sound of the kettle into Shazam and getting a match on Brian Eno.

Burns cuts for four.

Burns cuts for four. Photograph: Michael Steele/AFP/Getty Images


The players are back on the field. Jason Holder will open the bowling after lunch.

A few of you have emailed to dispute Digvijay Yadav’s definition of an allrounder. I misread it at first as well. He said they should get in the team in one of the disciplines, not both, so Richie Benaud, Ben Stokes, Andrew Flintoff and Wasim Akram are all allrounders. I’m not totally sure I agree with that (I have an immovable prejudice against bowling allrounders), but I think his definition of a bits-and-pieces player is perfect: someone who is not in the best six batsmen or the best four bowlers.

Honours even, I reckon. Dominic Sibley went for a duck in the first over and Joe Root was superbly run out by Roston Chase. The match and series are perfectly posied. West Indies, who chose to bowl first, know they have an excellent chance to expose a weakened England batting line-up in the afternoon session. England know that if they dig in as effectively as they did in the second Test, they will control and probably win this Test.


27th over: England 66-2 (Burns 33, Stokes 7) Rory Burns has done a lot right, particularly since his breakthrough in last summer’s Ashes. One slight irritant is that he has had quite a few nothing scores between 20 and 49. It’s only a mild case of the Denlys at this stage, but he’ll be keen to cash in after doing the hard yards this morning.

He survives the final over the session from Gabriel, who has now cranked it up to 88mph. That’s very encouraging for the West Indies, not to mention all lovers of a fair fight.

26th over: England 63-2 (Burns 30, Stokes 7) A high-class stroke from Stokes, who walks down the pitch to drive Cornwall past mid-on for four. There should be time for one more over before lunch.

“Definition of an allrounder is simple: walk into the team on either discipline i.e. either be in the top six batsmen in your country or top five bowlers,” says Digvijay Yadav. “Anyone else is a bits and pieces player.”

I know what you mean – and it’s the simplest definition I’ve heard – but you probbaly need to mention the secondary discipline as well. Otherwise, Geoffrey Boycott was one heck of an allrounder.

Stokes drives for four.

Stokes drives for four. Photograph: Reuters


25th over: England 59-2 (Burns 30, Stokes 3) Gabriel has pulled up okay since coming back into the attack. He’s not at top speed – mid 80s rather than low 80s – but he’s a fighter, and that’s the best we’ve got. He still has enough pace to force Burns into a mistimed hook that falls short of fine leg.

“Morning Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “Loving all the cricket chat but, given that I foolishly opened a couple of bottles that I found at the back of the cupboard last night, I was kind of hoping for some more rather traditional OBO offerings. Namely, what’s the best hangover cure known to man?”

You already know the answer to that, and it’s at the back of that very same cupboard.

24th over: England 57-2 (Burns 29, Stokes 2) Ten minutes to lunch. Cornwall continues to Stokes with a slip and short leg in place. A maiden. The days of Stokes pumping bowlers into the crowd at the start of an innings just before lunch, just for the hell of it, are long gone.

“I like how nominative determinism can be seen at play in much of the England line-up, a thought that struck me when Root (whose class is based on remaining at the crease) tried to go against type to dominate a bowler,” says Ian Copestake. “Stokes has fire that fuels him, Archer is a supreme technician and Buttler, well, alas someone will have to get his coat for him.”

23rd over: England 57-2 (Burns 29, Stokes 2) Stokes edges Gabriel just short of Campbell at third slip. That was really close. Earlier in the over, England received four bonus runs when a short ball flew down the leg side past Dowrich.

“Hi Rob,” says Geoff Wignall. “Surely the definition of a true allrounder is someone who can bowl finger spin, wrist spin, seam, swing and flat out fast combined with a Test average around 60 plus holding the record innings for a few decades and be a world class fielder in several positions, as well as drinking brandy all night and occasionally at lunch. Not that many come to mind.”

I can think of only one: WJ Mitty RHB LHB RF LF OB LBG SLA SLW.

22nd over: England 52-2 (Burns 29, Stokes 1) Benjamin Stokes is the new batsman. This is his fifth innings at No4; the last two were as a specialist batsman against Australia at the Oval last summer. Burns, meanwhile, cuts Cornwall for four to bring up England’s fifty.


Burns worked Cornwall to backward point and was called through by Root, who was just short of his ground when Chase picked up on the run and skimmed the bails with a flat throw. That was brilliant fielding, not least because a direct hit was the only way Root could have been dismissed.

WICKET! England 47-2 (Root run out 17)

Turns out England were a bit too alive to the opportunities for a quick single: Joe Root has been run out!

Root walks after being run out for 17.

Root walks after being run out for 17. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images for ECB


21st over: England 47-1 (Burns 25, Root 17) Gabriel returns to the attack. As Athers says on Sky, this is a big moment because if he breaks down again West Indies will be in the malodorous stuff. He gets through his first over, albeit at half ratpower, and England scamper another five runs. There’s been only one boundary all morning, with England reluctant to play aggressively against the moving ball, but they have been alive to most opportunities for a quick single.

20th over: England 42-1 (Burns 22, Root 15) Burns moves into the twenties with an confident stroke, walking down the track to clip Cornwall through midwicket for three. Cornwall has bowled four overs for 15. England are trying to go after him – not through boundaries but with placement and good running. It’s almost as if Graham Thorpe is their batting coach.

“Hi Rob,” says Tom Atkins. “A bit niche for those not from Kent, but I always thought one of Mark Ealham or Matthew Fleming were good enough to become a fifth bowler and genuine all-rounder in the mid-nineties. Unfortunately before the days of central contracts, coherent bowling strategies, aerobic fitness and selectors actually putting faith in their players, they were always dismissed as bits and pieces merchants.”

I love that Kent team but I really don’t think they were good enough. Ealham did okay for a while, and apparently impressed Steve Waugh with his attitude during the 1997 Ashes, but he always had the look of somebody who had forgotten their flotation suit. Both were good enough for the ODI team, though, and I thought England dropped Jazzer Fleming far too early. Had he been in the team for the 1999 World Cup, I honestly believe England would have avoided abject humiliation.

19th over: England 38-1 (Burns 19, Root 14) Burns is beaten by consecutive deliveries from the luckless Holder, who has been the best bowler by a distance this morning. Figures of 7-3-7-0 tell only part of the story.

“Chris Woakes’ Test batting average might be 26 but his first-class

average is almost 34,” says Romeo. “Stokes’ f-c average is 36. And Jason Holder’s f-c average is just under 26. Woakes also has a Test century.”

I’m still not sure he’s a Test No7. But that might be just by my addiction to a strong lower order. If you asked me to select an all-time World XI, I wouldn’t pick Lillee, Marshall, Akram and Warne. I’d go Klusener, Procter, Vettori … Blignaut.

18th over: England 37-1 (Burns 19, Root 13) I say! Root tries a big pull stroke off his first delivery from Cornwall, misses and is almost bowled round his legs. He clearly wants to dominate Cornwall and manoeuvres the next two balls for two and then runs.

Root attempts to sweep Cornwall.

Root attempts to sweep Cornwall. Photograph: Reuters


17th over: England 30-1 (Burns 17, Root 8) It’s attitional stuff out there. A soft-handed drive brings Root a couple off Holder, and he keeps the strike by stealing a single off the last delivery.

16th over: England 27-1 (Burns 17, Root 5) More spin for Cornwall, who turns one past Burns’s outside edge. Actually I think Burns left that at the last minute. But this has been a really good start from Cornwall.

“There’s no shame in being a bowler that can be expected to bat a bit,” says Paddy Blewer. “Hadlee comes to mind – obviously Woakes isn’t the bowler he is, but there was a time when Hadlee might have made a World XI on his bowling, but his batting would have been an afterthought. I remember in the 80s we believed we lived in an age of allrounders – Botham, Hadlee, Kapil Dev, Rice, Imran. If we’re honest with ourselves however, I’m not convicned that for much of the period I remember (late 80s) they were true allrounders. Imran maybe – he did very well against the Windies. The others were hot and cold and Hadlee and Kapil always struck me as bowlers that could bad well – just like Woakes.”

Yes, Hadlee and Kapil were No7s at best, really. Peak Botham was absolutely an allrounder -he could bat, bowl, drink brandy till 4am and take a five-for the next day – but by the late 80s he was a pastiche.

15th over: England 25-1 (Burns 15, Root 5) More tempting outswing from Holder to Root, who has compromised his usual busy approach and is just trying to get through to lunch. A maiden.

14th over: England 25-1 (Burns 15, Root 5) The big offspiner Rahkeem Cornwall is coming into the attack. He barely has a walk-up, never mind a run-up, but his numbers are extremely impressive. His fifth ball is gorgeous, drifting in and then spitting away to beat Burns’ defensive push. Seeing a ball turn like that before lunch on day one is extremely encouraging for both sides.

Cornwall in action.

Cornwall in action. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images for ECB

“Hi Rob,” says Neil Withers. “The discussion on Woakes’ batting reminds me of something I’ve been meaning to email in with for yonks – it’s about time we had an OBO-certified ranking of batting terminology for people who aren’t playing as batters. OK, maybe the whole concept needs a better name. My stab, in decrease order of prowess:

  • Batter who bowls a bit
  • Genuine all-rounder
  • Useful lower-order bat
  • Bowler who bats a bit
  • Can be relied on to chip in with a few
  • No mug with the bat
  • Can hold an end up
  • Genuine tail-ender
  • Proper number eleven

“FWIW, I think Woakes is either ‘useful lower-order bat’ or a ‘bowler who bats a bit’. Sorry for the lengthy missive, huzzah for cricket being back, eh? I’ve loved it, and hope people can hold back a bit of the vehement criticism under the circs.”

It’s a nice idea, though I feel like you need a better description for Woakes, who is slightly more than a useful lower-order bat. Surely the easiest way is to categorise them by numbers, with halves if you want to have greater precision but risk being called a pseud. With that in mind, I reckon Woakes is a 7.5. And, since you asked, Alan Mullally, Ed Giddins and Phil Tufnell were all 12s.


13th over: England 23-1 (Burns 13, Root 5) There’s been a bit of swing for Holder, though not as much as in the first innings of the last two Tests. Batting isn’t easy, far from it, but these are conditions in which any self-respecting grinder would back themselves to get through to lunch. England have done pretty well so far. Burns has 13 from 38 balls, Root five from 35.

Thanks for all your emails, which I’m trying to read between deliveries. Few things panic a liveblog writer (well, me) more than looking at an inbox with more a couple of unread emails. At the moment I have

19 and am in need of valium.


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