60th over: England 277-3 (Root 82, Bairstow 84) Target 378 Now we get Bumrah, cranking in like a puppet with the new old ball. He’s a bit wayward by his standards, and then Root’s bottom edge flies past the wrong-footed Pant and down to the rope.
Thank you Phil West: “Hello Tanya! Hope the cricket today is brilliant – let’s face it, if either team wins it will go down in the “I was there” category.Regarding the percentage runs scored by Root and Bairstow: I started to work this out but the figures from the first two tests against NZ show something very interesting. Yes, 115 – 136 – 176 are all there but so are scores of 11 – 1 – 3 – and 8. Just from those games we have 37%. I think we would have all guessed more.”
59th over: England 271-3 (Root 77, Bairstow 83) Target 378 It’s Shami. This must be a plan, of sorts. After three balls, India appeal for a new pill. It doesn’t fit through the umpire’s nut crackers, so a new ball it is. As Nasser says, it’s a gamble for India: the old ball was reversing – the new one will be harder, but might do nothing. And with the very first delivery, the new ball gets hammered square for four by Bairstow. And the second. A final out-swinger saves Shami’s blushes.
“Dear England cricket team,” taps Robin Hazlehurst. “Please can we have Baz when you’ve finished with him. Before Saturday would be ideal. Thanks.The England rugby team.”
58th over: England 263-3 (Root 77, Bairstow 75) Target 378 The lights are on at Edgbaston, and just one slip awaits Siraj. His first is a snorter that just passes Root’s nostrils. The second comes back and raps Root on the pads. He picks up a single, then Bairstow a couple from a misfield by Pujara in the covers.
Right, here we go!
If England chase down this target, it will be the eighth largest in Test history.
“A poor benighted England cricket fan here in the wilds of Connemara. God, I’m nervous…I’m sure I can hear the ghost of Hobart sniggering behind the sofa – or it might just be the uproar of butterflies in my stomach.
“Any chance you or the OBO Hive Mind could oblige with the TMS overseas link?
“Thanks to all OBO staff for the wonderful job you all do. I shall be glued.”
Flattery Bill, it gets you everywhere. Here is the overseas link.
“Rather unlikely I suspect but would you, or any of the other wonderful OBO types, know of anywhere at AELTC that is showing the cricket? I appear to have come to the wrong sports venue by mistake.”
Craig, I’m sure someone can come to your assistance.
“Do we know what percentage of England runs have come from these two in the four Tests this year?” asks Michael Scott.
Michael, I don’t have those stats to hand, but in eight Test innings this year, Joe Root is averaging 100.6, Jonny Bairstow 95.33. Crazy numbers.
“Gutted to report I am giving a zoom lecture between 10.30 and 12.30 this morning! On an unrelated note, I think it’s time that Root and Bairstow knuckled down like proper test batman and aim to add about 20 for no wicket before lunch, and then take up the chase in the second session.”
Pete, that would be against the Bazball code and the curse would live on for generations.
This is a very good point by Smylers – though I think people were “encouraged” to give to the Bob Willis Fund when enrolling for tickets for Edgbaston – don’t know if that will make a difference.
“Not specifically addressed at you, but it’d be nice if the media showed some balance rather than universally praising 5th-day free tickets. Being free, people snap them up quickly without really thinking through whether they will be attending, the tickets ‘sell’ out within a couple of hours, and social media is full of both people who realise they won’t be using their tickets and those who missed out. (And the T&Cs prevent transferring them.)
“At Headingley last week the ground was only half-full, yet there were fans without tickets being turned away at the gates. Surely better to have a nominal fee, say £5 for adults (children free), all going to charity? The organisers can still get the publicity boost of really cheap tickets and the charity fundraising, but people are less likely to unthinkingly grab tickets they won’t use, and the stands will be fuller of people who actually can go. For most, the cost of attending (transport, parking, food, time off work) is such that a fiver on the tickets wouldn’t be the deciding factor anyway.”
Weather from our man on the spot:
Butcher and Hussain think Jadeja was bowling at the wrong end yesterday – the rough would work better for him at the pavilion end. 23 overs till the new ball.
“Hello Tanya, I hope you’re keeping well.” Hello Tim Sanders, lovely to hear from you.
“That picture of Joe and Jonny walking off yesterday reminds me of the Bouldermobile in The Wacky Races. Rock and Gravel would hit themselves on the head with their clubs to make it go faster.
Probably it’s just me…”
Nasser Hussain and Mark Butcher are talking about the pitch – basically it is good.
Sky are asking what Baz-ball is. And answering their own question with lots of big hitting and “POW” graphics. If Bazball had been in my class at school, I’d have found him incredibly irritating, but carried a secret crush.
Jimmy has been rolled out to talk to Ian Ward. “We were up against it [yesterday], had seven wickets to get, but we had that belief that we’d go out there and really challenge it. Ben had the strength of mind to say how we had to go about it and it paid off. The ball wasn’t doing much so the short stuff was the way to go.”
On Root and Bairstow: “They’re scarily good. We know Joe’s quality and Jonny is just having an amazing year. I’ve watched their shots as a bowler and just thought – what could you do?”
Love this picture. Henry VIII and Lancelot (without the bad bits).
This is in the bag, right? England to swagger out this morning at Edgbaston in their posing pouches, blowing the sawdust from their hands, ready to knock the top off another crazy chase: just 119 needed to draw the series started last year and notch up another record.
It seems so wrong to write that. With old England, familiar England, collapse was always waiting in the wings: take your pick from 10 for 56 at Hobart to finish off The Ashes, all out 120 at Lord’s against India last year, or many more. But though Bazball seems to offer huge potential for folding like a whirly-gig washing line, to date it hasn’t happened, with successful chases of 279, 299 and 296 against New Zealand. And Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root are batting like golden gods. It all rests on what Bumrah can conjure up in the first overs of the day.
Edgbaston will be stuffed full – following the examples of Trent Bridge and Headingley in offering free tickets on the fifth day – for the last instalment of Test cricket till the first Test against South Africa on August 17. But there was some sobering news last night, as allegations of racist abuse of Indian supporters in the stands came to light. The ECB and Edgbaston announced immediate investigations, but its alleged brazenness and the inability of the stewards to stop it, is intensely depressing.