The Over: England v New Zealand – 2nd Test

Squeezing six points out of a rain affected 85 minutes of on-off-on again-off again might look like a challenge to some. Happily, your writers are verbose like a windbag backbencher claiming their five minutes in the limelight and willing to find significance in the smallest details (much like tonight’s Channel 5 highlights, which showed about half the day’s play by the time they were done). Ahem, with no further ado, onwards…

1. Whoever does England’s weather forecasts could get a long-time job at the Met Office. They’re certainly a lot more optimistic than most had been, and were proved right when the clouds, if they didn’t exactly part, stopped bunging down water for long enough for England to winkle out the last recognised Kiwi batsman.


The Over: England v New Zealand: First Test, Days 2, 3 and 4

  • As I wiped the sleep from my eyes yesterday morning, made my way to my local purveyor of pork pies and scotch eggs, before settling in the pavilion with anticipation, I didn’t at any point dream that I would be making my way home at a mite past half past two. Upon arriving at my local tube stop, the supervisor at the barrier took one look at my MCC tie, gave me a quizzical look and said, “You’re back early, mate.” Why yes, I suppose I was. I think I was probably still in a stupor from what had just occurred. I’d witnessed in three hours of thrilling Test cricket more wickets than you might see in two Tests on certain asphalt freeways in the subcontinent. Some of the stats beggar belief. The fourth fastest 7+ wicket haul in Test history in terms of balls bowled; the first time since 1936 that England only used two bowlers to bowl out a team; the tenth lowest score by any team at Lord’s. At one stage, I did genuinely wonder if I’d dreamt the whole thing.


The Over: England v New Zealand – First Test, Day 1

It’s a Test match summer folks! Now all we need is to draw in the crowds with fast-paced, exciting Test cricket. Oh wait…

  • We’re sure when we started watching this morning we didn’t have these matching, flowing, white beards, arthritis in our knees and cataracts. Yes, it actually feels like we’ve visibly aged after that day of Test cricket. Stuff for the purists slightly. It doesn’t seem to be the sort of pitch to encourage fast scoring, but you kind of get the sense that England’s batsmen were so intent on not screwing up against these upstart visitors that they forgot to, you know, actually score some runs… According to Andy Zaltzman’s ever reliable stats, this was the slowest 80 overs and featured the most dot balls by England in the first innings of a Test since records began to be kept in 2001. Surely we’re not playing for the draw already…


Springwatch 2013

First off, we’re back! Get out the bunting and crack open the champers. We’ll be with you all the way through the rest of the year, trying to keep count, probably unsuccessfully, of how many consecutive Ashes Tests there have been.

Last year at about this time we brought you an early season update of how the various cuddly creatures known as county cricketers were getting on. Well, as spring has been warm and dry, they’ve been flourishing. So let’s get the binoculars, pad and paper out and see what we can find.

The gulf between England-standard players and everyone else is quite apparent to see. The last couple of weeks have seen a number of them returning to their natural habitats, and the results have been startling. Joe Root has made 49, 182 and 236 in his two outings for God’s own county so far and tops the first class run charts. Jonny Bairstow added a ton as well, as did Nick Compton. Cook, Trott, Prior and Bell have all made solid fifties. On the bowling side, Babyface Broad has taken 12 wickets in two matches, Jimmy Anderson 7, Tim Bresnan 9, while Chris Woakes has taken 11 wickets and scored 2 fifties. Graham Onions, as is usual at the start of the seasons, stands atop a huge pile of mangled batsmen’s carcasses, with 19 wickets already. Not a bad haul all round.