“Afternoon Rob,” says James. “All four seamers went for 13 off their first five overs. Not sure how common that is but you’d assume that it hasn’t been seen many times before!”
That’s a tremendous spot. And a slightly eerie one.
Teatime teatime chat
“Kim is right,” says Digvijay Yadav. “Small triangle shaped egg and cress sandwiches are a non-negotiable for cricket tea. The best I ever had were at Kent University. Fantastic spread of various small triangle shaped sandwiches.”
“Egg sarnies?” says Gary Naylor. “Okay for us vegetarians, but don’t leave them out in the sun. They’ll put you on your backside quicker than an Archer bouncer – and the similarities don’t end there…”
25th over: West Indies 59-3 (Brooks 4, Chase 0) This counts as two spells from Woakes, because he changed ends, but effectively it’s the seventh of his spell. Nothing much happens, and the players toddle off for tea with England in control of the Test and the series. See you in 20 minutes for the evening session.
24th over: West Indies 58-3 (Brooks 3, Chase 0) That was a majestic bit of bowling from Anderson, who now has 588 Test wickets.
“Do you, or anybody else know, have the bowlers been asked to keep their distance from the umpires on their run-ups?” says Scott Roberts. “The reason I ask is because Archer isn’t bowling from as close to the stumps as usual, and I think it reduces his effectiveness quite considerably, and it looks like it’s affecting his mechanics quite negatively as well, hence his pace is down and he’s not moving the ball away from the right hander.”
I haven’t heard anything about that, and I’d be surprised if there was any enforced social distancing on the field. Obviously the players aren’t encouraged to give the umpire a kiss on the lips but I think they are fine to get as close as they want in delivery stride.
WICKET! West Indies 58-3 (Hope c Buttler b Anderson 17)
Shai Hope falls to a stunning delivery from James Anderson. The line and length were immaculate, and it growled off the seam to take the edge as Hope pushed forward defensively. Jos Buttler did the rest with a tumbling catch.
23rd over: West Indies 58-2 (Hope 17, Brooks 3) Woakes has changed ends. A straight drive from Hope hits him on the boot and deflects just past the stumps with Brooks miles out of his ground. He didn’t even try to get back in his crease; he just gawped at the ball as if mesmerised by its spherical beauty.
“Afternoon Rob,” says Geoff Wignall. “Surely it isn’t just a matter of whether batting can damage Stokes’ quad, but also whether a dodgy quad can damage his batting – along with possible quad damage from fielding.”
He fields at slip most of the time, so I doubt he can do much damage there. That said, I know sod all about quads, so I don’t feel qualified to comment on whether he should rest or not. I realise it’s a sackable offence to not have an opinion these days, so I await my P45.
22nd over: West Indies 55-2 (Hope 15, Brooks 2) Anderson replaces Woakes, and this time he will bowl at the James Anderson End. It might be a strange feeling at first, though I soon got used to writing liveblogs from the Rob Smyth Suite. He starts with a quiet over, a maiden to Brooks. It’s attritional stuff out there, with only 10 runs from the last seven overs.
21st over: West Indies 55-2 (Hope 15, Brooks 2) “Talking of Stokes, any opinion of his staunch support of Morgan in insisting Hales was thrown out of the team for ‘abusing the trust of the team’, and his staunch support of Archer despite Jofra having (arguably even more seriously) abused the trust of the team by sneaking out of the bubble?” asks Nick Butler. “Seems like one attitude for one and a different for the other. And I’m thinking more of the attitude of the team rather than the actual punishment handed out by the ECB. Bit hypocritical.”
These things are so tricky, because we don’t see what goes on behind closed doors and therefore we don’t always have the full contextt. My hunch – and that’s all it is, I have never had any inside knowledge in my life – is that there is more to Hales’ omission than just failing a drug test. I think Morgan has made a judgement on Hales’ character, possibly based on his love of the All Blacks’ culture, and decided he doesn’t want him in his team. I don’t know whether that’s correct or fair, but I do think Morgan has earned the right to make such a decision.
20th over: West Indies 52-2 (Hope 13, Brooks 1) A fullish outswinger from Woakes is driven sweetly down the ground for four by Hope. That was a really classy stroke.
“Good afternoon Rob,” says Kim Thonger. “With the tea interval approaching we are having a debate here, as to the most important component of a sound cricket tea. I am advocating for egg and cress sandwiches but there is much discussion on the vexed question of Victoria sponge, and more than one heretic proposing sausage rolls. I’m right aren’t I? You can’t have a cricket tea without eggy sarnies.”
You’ve picked the wrong OBOer; I don’t think I’ve ever had a cricket tea in my life. But I suspect a few of our readers have, so I shall relay their thoughts.
19th over: West Indies 47-2 (Hope 9, Brooks 0) Hope plays a pleasant stroke, pushing Archer through mid-off for a couple. He has nine from 49 balls and has clearly decided to block his way back into form.
It’s been discussed many times but Archer’s short ball is a nightmare for batsmen for a few reasons. There’s no change in action, so it’s hard to pick up. He gets tight to the stumps, so it’s hard to avoid. And he can bowl at up to 95mph. He really is obscenely talented. I decided after England’s last hammering in 2017-18 that I wasn’t going to offer to OBO any more Ashes series in Australia. Just when I thought was out, Jofra Archer has pulled me back in.
18th over: West Indies 45-2 (Hope 7, Brooks 0) The new batsman Shamarh Brooks is beaten by a jaffa from Woakes that straightens from a good length. The ball is doing just enough to keep England interested, and Brooks is beaten again off the last ball of the over.
“Ben Stokes should be rested, at least for the Irish contests and maybe the first game against Pakistan,” says John Starbuck. “He’s clearly not fully fit and never will be under Root, who, as his treatment of Archer shows, doesn’t know when to give his stars a proper breather. As today has shown, the side can bat pretty well without him, might be able to field slightly better and could well do a proper bowling job too.”
He’ll miss the Ireland games anyway as he’s not in the white-ball bubble. As for the Tests, I suppose it depends on how much damage, if any, batting does to his quad. And I’ll level with you: I haven’t a clue.
17th over: West Indies 44-2 (Hope 6, Brooks 0) That was the last ball of Archer’s over.
WICKET! West Indies 44-2 (Campbell c Burns b Archer 32)
John Campbell has been bounced out by Jofra Archer. It was a lovely short ball that Campbell couldn’t avoid, and it hit the glove before looping gently to gully. Superb bowling from Archer – and superb commentary on Sky from Andrew Strauss, who predicted the short ball about 0.5 seconds before Archer delivered it.
16th over: West Indies 44-1 (Campbell 32, Hope 6) Woakes keeps it tight to Hope, who now has six off 42 balls. I suspect he’s decided to become a Joe Denly tribute act.
And that’s it from me – you’re just going to have to get through the rest of the day with the incomparable Rob Smyth. Thanks for your company, your correspondence and your views on bandanas.
15th over: West Indies 43-1 (Campbell 31, Hope 6) Just when some idiots were dismissing him, Hope manages to find the boundary. It was somewhere between a thick edge and a canny guide, off Archer, that raced past Pope at gully. Hope gets some credit for keeping it down.
14th over: West Indies 38-1 (Campbell 30, Hope 2) Just a single from Campbell off Woakes’s over. Never mind a short leg – Hope is playing so few shots that Root could easily have ten men round the bat.
More on bandanas, from Romeo. “If bowlers are so worried about their hair getting in their eyes (something which never worried Dennis Lillee until his hair was shorter and falling out), they could always use an Ena Sharples hairnet.”
13th over: West Indies 37-1 (Campbell 29, Hope 2) Archer and Buttler think they’ve got Hope, strangled down the leg side, but Michael Gough gives a shake of the head with his usual air of authority. Root doesn’t review – rightly, as the ball brushed the hip. There’s no short leg, which seems a glaring error when the lead is still well over 300.
“Hello, Mr de Lisle,” says Abhijato Sensarma. “I’ve admired your OBO work, but it took me some time to recognise that you’re the ‘Tim’ who edited a sole edition of the Wisden as well. It was the 2003 one, which infamously bore a picture on its cover for the first time (in retrospect, a pivotal moment for the almanack).” So it was! I’d quite forgotten. “I was reminded of this fact a week ago while I was checking if they still ran their writing contest. They do! I haven’t sent in a piece for a few years now, but this lockdown has given my quill the hope to pursue the unlikely like Broad’s willow has…” It’s the hope that quills us.
12th over: West Indies 36-1 (Campbell 28, Hope 2) Joe Root makes a double change, to enable us all to compare the old firm to England’s other pair of new-ball bowlers. Chris Woakes, fed up with being called immaculate, bowls a bit of a loosener to Campbell, who pulls it for four. And that’s drinks, with England on top but not having that much to show for it, thanks to Stokes’s bloomer.
11th over: West Indies 31-1 (Campbell 23, Hope 2) Heeeere’s Jofra! He instantly has Hope hopping about, edging a short one into his own torso, which saves him. Then Archer bowls a proper bouncer, which bounces so high that Jos Buttler has no chance of laying a glove on it. He’s in the mood.
10th over: West Indies 26-1 (Campbell 23, Hope 2) Campbell, who has decided he rather likes being a one-man batting line-up, creams Broad through the covers for four.
Broad is wearing his white bandana with the bow at the back, Anderson his black headband. “In between overs,” says Paul Griffin, “could you quickly work out whether, over the entire history of first-class cricket, Bandana-ed bowlers are statistically more likely to get wickets? Wisden doesn’t have a ‘sported headband’ category. I’m assuming their reappearance is a sports science/data thing, although you wouldn’t rule out Jimmy and Broady warming to a Bryan Adams CD in the Lexus on the way to a 7 for 69.” Ha. Three for 69, these days.
9th over: West Indies 20-1 (Campbell 17, Hope 2) John Campbell is having to make all the runs here. He sees a rare bad ball from Anderson, a long hop outside off, and cuts it for the first four of the innings. He then takes a leaf out of his partner’s book with an inside edge for a single as he drives one that was swinging back into him. The old firm have been great, but I can’t wait to see Jofra.
8th over: West Indies 15-1 (Campbell 12, Hope 2) Broad, for once, makes nothing happen. Sky are running through all Stokes’s dropped catches in this otherwise magnificent series – one very tricky, one middling, and then today’s one, which was, by his high standards, a piece of cake.
A thought from Ian Forth. “The current bowling partnership of Broad and Anderson has over a thousand wickets between them. This has happened twice before – Warne/McGrath and Muralitharan/Vaas – but this is the only time with two pace bowlers. Will it ever happen again?” Good question. My guess is yes, because Test careers are getting longer, at least in terms of matches played.
7th over: West Indies 14-1 (Campbell 11, Hope 2) Hope’s second scoring shot is even worse than his first – a Harrow poke off Anderson. Holding is right to wonder why on earth he’s still at No.3.
6th over: West Indies 12-1 (Campbell 10, Hope 1) Broad, bowling to Hope, can smell his next wicket. Hope may well be able to sense it too, but he’s still there and getting off the mark with a jumpy flick round the corner.
5th over: West Indies 11-1 (Campbell 10, Hope 0) That was tough on Anderson, who’s been almost as immaculate as Woakes.
Dropped! Campbell by Stokes
Anderson bowls the outswinger to the left-hander, draws the nick, and sees Ben Stokes drop a regulation a catch at second slip. What a liability he is.
4th over: West Indies 9-1 (Campbell 8, Hope 0) Campbell picks up two more twos by playing nice and straight against Broad. This pitch, while mostly smiling on the bowlers, does offer plenty of runs too.
3rd over: West Indies 4-1 (Campbell 3, Hope 0) John Campbell pushes Anderson into the covers for two and a single, whereupon Anderson beats Shai Hope outside off with a beauty, and another beauty. “I would have Hope in this team,” says Michael Holding, “but at six or seven, keeping wicket.”
2nd over: West Indies 1-1 (Campbell 0, Hope 0) That’s a wicket-maiden for Broad, who also has a couple of LBW appeals turned down. Leaving him out does seem to be quite an effective ploy, even if it costs England the odd Test.
“Fritz Lang [13:18] may well be a genius,” says Brian Withington, “but I genuinely didn’t even realise there was a scorecard on the phone app! Clearly too absorbed by the OBO coverage to look any further (I just scroll backwards and forwards for fall of wickets etc) …”
Wicket! Brathwaite c Root b Broad 1 (West Indies 1-1)
Well that didn’t take long. Stuart Broad gets one to nibble off the seam, Joe Root takes a straightforward catch at first slip and West Indies have lost their only reliable top-order batsman.
1st over: West Indies 1-0 (Brathwaite 1, Campbell 0) So who’s going to take the new ball? The old firm, I presume. Jimmy Anderson, restored to his throne as the king of swing, finds movement straightaway, both out and in, but Kraigg Brathwaite is equal to it. He gets off the mark with a push to leg.
The players are out there, and West Indies need 170 to avoid the follow-on.
A question from Tom Hopkins. “Can Fritz Lang not just use chalk to write the fall of wickets on someone’s back?” Classy.
A theory about Stuart Broad. “Perhaps,” says Mark Slater, “Broad is getting anxious about fighting for his spot amongst Jimmy, Jofra and Mark Wood, and is now targeting Chris Woakes’ place?”
“Fritz Lang is a genius,” says Pierre Moon. “Fall of wickets is possibly the best part of the scorecard story. I have long wondered why the OBO scorecard didn’t carry this, forcing me to flit to the BBC scorecard. Take this infamous Test – only by looking at fall of wickets in the first innings do you get that jaw dropping moment of realisation of what actually happened. Please rattle the cages of power to see if we can put this right!” Pierre, you can be sure that I will use all my lack of influence.
“Fritz Lang has a point,” says Jonathan West. “Fall of wickets is on the website scorecard but inexplicably not on the one on the Guardian phone app. Would seem to be more trouble to have two versions of the scorecard than one.” Don’t get everybody started.
A tweet from Fritz Lang, possibly not the Fritz Lang. “Loving the coverage as always.” Thank you. “Would it be possible to have fall of wickets added to the Guardian app’s scorecard? Many thanks.” That is a long way above my pay grade, but I’ll pass it on.
Another line from earlier on. “I have spent all morning trying to formulate a punny headline based on the second century Pope, Sixtus (AD 42-124),” said Nick Abel Smith. “Him being bowled by the Angel Gabriel to leave him stranded on only one century makes it much easier.”
Before Broad came to the crease, there was a tweet from Iain in Brighton (@sevenbeescafe). “Why does Archer come in ahead of Broad?” he wondered. “Or indeed Anderson?” Iain, that was visionary.
Luncheon! After a morning of two halves. The first hour belonged to Gabriel and Roach, who shook off their exhaustion to give a new-ball dank-morning masterclass; the second to Broad and Bess, who launched a classic tail-end counter-attack. We’ve had 111 runs, six wickets, rich entertainment. Join me in half an hour for the next episode of Dr Ebb and Mr Flow.
Wicket! Anderson c Cornwall b Holder 11 (England 369 all out)
Jason Holder brings himself back and picks up his first wicket in what feels like a few years as Anderson gives a simple catch to first slip.
111th over: England 365-9 (Bess 17, Anderson 7) Chase keeps it tight as the batsmen begin to think about their lunch.
“Martin Laidler [97th over] needn’t worry,” said Geoff Wignall a few minutes ago. “As a senior player Broad is making a commendable job of managing the tail. With the Burnley Lara still to come, I’m anticipating a declaration at around 450.”
110th over: England 364-9 (Bess 16, Anderson 7) Anderson, facing Chase, pulls out the reverse sweep, which brings him four, off the edge, possibly both edges.
109th over: England 358-9 (Bess 16, Anderson 2) Cornwall bowls a fast arm ball to Anderson, who does very well to chop it off his leg bail and gets a couple for it.
“Lovely stuff from Broad,” says Toby Sims. “No, he’s never going to be the batsman he once was but I can see him as a world class irritant like Graeme Swann in the tail. Lots of time for Bess too, some fight in that dog. Fan of Buttler too – it was a good nut, and wickets tend to fall in the morning with the new ball, no matter who the batsman is.”
108th over: England 356-9 (Bess 16, Anderson 0) That’s a wicket-maiden for Chase, who is a lesser bowler than Cornwall, but a better operator.
Wicket! Broad c Blackwood b Chase 62 (England 356-9)
Gone! To a full toss. Not a bad ball actually – Chase was trying for the yorker, spearing it in low, and Broad’s slog-sweep went straight to deep square. That’s the end of a highly entertaining cameo, 62 off 45 balls, which has put England back in charge.