This post is somewhat different to my usual stuff, but todays match was pretty special.
I’d imagine that this morning sitting inside Lords having bought your ticket several months ago and seeing yesterdays debacle, sitting there freezing your nadgers off waiting for the game to start the prospects of a positive outcome must have been dismally limited?
At some point during the day just after lunch a mate of mine asked ‘Are you watching the cricket’ (The scorecard ticking over)? His eyes rolling in despair giving the game away.
“No – don’t say anything, I’ll watch the highlights on channel 5 later on”. Thank God channel 5 have the rights to at least broadcast the highlights of what is almost our national game, but that’s a different argument. His shoulders shrugged in disappointment at not being able to tell me how crap Cook, Strauss, Pisterson et al were and that they’d no doubt all been bowled out by Amir and Asif and the series was on course to go Pakistan’s way. For a moment I reflected on Strauss’s and Pieterson’s batting and got back to work thinking that the rain would probably put paid to any chance of their being anything vaguely exciting to watch.
Just before 7pm Joe and me started to have a knock about on the play area outside the house and out of no-where Joe suddenly re-discovered his Leg-Break bowling me 6 times for 6 runs!! 4 wickets with his leggie, one a lovely wrong un and another a top-spinner when I was playing for a leg-break!!! So what with all that going on, I skipped indoors and put a tape on and recorded the cricket. Once it got too dark we came in and I noticed that the tape had finished and had rewound itself back to the beginning so I wasn’t sure whether I’d managed to record the whole lot and was a bit disappointed that I might miss some of it.
I found the start and started to watch it. Being the highlights Cook was soon gone cheaply which was disappointing after his recent 100 +, but then one after another England’s finest, the blokes that have got to do battle against the Aussies in a few months time followed. But the nature of how they followed was a killer. Mark Nicholas the Channel commentator commented “If you’re watching this collapse on the highlight program, this isn’t highlights, this is in real time”!
Pieterson gone for 0 first ball the commentators virtually writing the bloke off and out of the England set up before the Ashes saying, that he’d written in a column yesterday admitting that he’s lost it, Collingwood momentarily looking good with some good defensive blocks, my spirit lifted and then gone for 0. Morgan the bright new hope who will lift the Ashes next year?……. Gone for 0. Then Matt Prior, he got the ball on the bat and was making runs, a sigh of relief….. maybe we could survive? But then gone for 22. Trott was there ticking over runs, but now with only bowlers left to support him it was looking grim. Amir the 18 year old Pakistani bowler was incredible! Swann joined the queue, 2nd ball and gone for….. yeah you guessed it 0. Aussies all over the world must have been watching or listening with big beaming smiles, especially Ricky Ponting.
Stuart Broad joined the queue of English batsman to go before Amir to be dismissed for a humiliating and psychologically crushingly low score. There was no hope, all the English batsmen had demonstrated that they’d met their match in Amir. But then cricket did that thing that makes it special. We’d been entertained with some spectacular bowling by Amir and it looked like a totally and utterly lost cause, but then bit by bit Stuart Broad a No8 batsman along with Jonathan Trott the No.3 dug in and started to play proper Test Cricket, a run here and a run there and slowly the runs began to tick over and Pakistan took their foot off the accelerator and England looked as though they may be able to get some runs on the board to give the bowlers a chance. Trott reached his 50 and then there was the 100 partnership, then Trott reached his hundred with Broad 35-40 runs off his, but it was inconceivable after this morning that Broad would go on to attain his all time test batting record? But he did, and then he went past his all time 1st class batting record and it was looking like the 100 was within his grasp! The 90’s arrived and Michael Vaughn commented on the fact that there would be adrenalin and other factors working against Broard to deny him of his 100. 98 and then eventually the glory of getting 100 at Lords!
What a moment, that must have been for Broad, in this one game he broke a whole bunch of records and PB’s and by the end of the game England or rather Stuart Broad and Jonathan Trott had taken the game from a score of 102 for 7 to 346 for 7 with more records to be taken tomorrow and the potential to put England in a strong position what with the weather improving and something that the bowlers can work with.
What an incredible match and day that must have been for all those thousands that must have been sitting there this morning in the gloom before the match wondering when the rain might start.