England v India: second Test, day one – as it didn’t happen


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “England v India: second Test, day one – as it didn’t happen” was written by Rob Smyth and Tim de Lisle, for theguardian.com on Thursday 9th August 2018 21.19 Asia/Kolkata

Play has been abandoned for the day

It’s over, you don’t need to tell me… The umpires have accepted the inevitable, and the ECB have confirmed that, no, we cannot claim the last seven hours back. Thankfully the forecast is much better tomorrow, so play should hopefully start on time. Thanks for your company, emails, XIs – and especially for your donations. See you tomorrow!


“I’d be the first to admit this team of Marks could do with some work in the bowling area,” says Jon Perry, “but you should get a few runs on the board: Taylor, Stoneman, Butcher, Ramprakash, Waugh, Ealham, Boucher, Wood, Craig, Ilott, Footitt.”

I always knew Mark Ealham would play Test cricket again.

“What about a team of Alis?” says Arun Narayanan. “It’s got everything: opening batsmen, elegant middle-order batsmen, dashing all-rounders, wicket-keeper, spinning all-rounder, and fast bowlers! Syed Mushtaq Ali, Azhar Ali, Basit Ali, Abbas Ali Baig, Ali Bacher, Syed Abid Ali (wk), Ali Shah, Moeen Ali, Hasan Ali, Rahat Ali, Yasir Ali.”

“A team of Pauls with more tail than Merv Hughes,” writes our own Daniel Harris. “Horton, Collingwood, Coughlin, Farbrace, Allott, Reiffel, Keemo, Wilson, Adams, Grayson, Wiseman.”

No Paul Strang. You’re dead to me.

Update There will be a further inspection in 15 minutes’ time. I suspect they’ll call it off then.

The umpires have been out for a chat with the groundsman Mick Hunt. They have umbrellas; they are using them; they are now talking to Joe Root and Trevor Bayliss. I think that might be it for the day.


Our old friend Rob Bagchi has picked a team of Steves. “Bit light on the batting – but heavy on the captaincy: Cook, Smith (I), Smith (II), Fleming, Waugh, Elworthy, Rhodes, Finn, O’Keeffe, Watkin, Harmison.”

It’s looking a bit gloomy again. Play has to start by 6pm, or all our labour will have been in vain.

Jon Holmes has used his own name as inspiration for an XI “John (Jack) Hobbs, John Edrich, John Inverarity, John Hampshire, Jonty Rhodes, John Waite, John Murray, Johnnie Wardle, John Snow, John Warr, Jon Agnew.”

Wot not Trott?


“Update from the Compton Lower,” begins our man Nick Miller. “Couple of generously refreshed chaps have just broken through the crack security team & dashed out to do a couple of ‘Klinsmanns’ on the covers. Those of us who have stuck around enjoyed it, but when those lads sober up their pockets will be £1,000 lighter.”

At least they’ll still have their dignit- oh.

“Hi Rob,” says Richard Firth. “Your thread about teams with first names, and someone forgetting their team of Grahams/Graemes led me to do some thinking. So, I’ve got: Smith, Gooch, Fowler, Yallop, Pollock, Hick, Thorpe, Manou (wk), Swann. Onions, Dilley. It bats deep, and it’s probably short of another pace bowler, but it’s a full team. Perhaps it would do all right on the subcontinent.”

“I quite like Ian,” says Patrick Brennan. “Can’t possibly beat the Michael team but the lower middle order would be fun to watch: Ward, Bell, Chappell (c), Botham, Healy (wk), Smith, Harvey, Blackwell, Austin, Bishop, Salisbury.”

That’s quite a tail. You could always add Redpath and Craig to the top order, or just put Blackwell to No3 for the hell of it.

Anand suggests Mohammed and its various spellings: Yousuf, Azharuddin, Akram, Shami, Asif, Nissar. And five others!

I’ve managed to put together a decent team of Andys and Andrews, though we’re short of a spinner

Strauss (c), Ganteaume, Hudson, Jones, Symonds, Flower (wk), Flintoff, Bichel, Roberts, Caddick.

“What about Alan?” sniffs Ian Rogers. “Border, Lamb, Donald… Mullally? Actually I’m stuck there, but it’s got Mullally in it!!”

Ah yes, good one – you could also have Knott, Melville, Davidson and, er, four others?

Update There is still an irritatingly small amount of rain falling at Lord’s. I do think we’ll get some play today, but it might not be for another hour or so.


Thanks to Tim, hello again. Let’s crack on with some team-pickin’ fun.

“Emailing from Canada, where I can’t get TMS and I’m turning to you to distract me from a 5000-word masters essay,” writes Tom Bailey. “One the subject of names during the rain delay, challenge your readers for a Test team of players of the same first name. The nest me and my mate Paul could manage was a team of Grahams/Graemes who were great bowlers batsmen, spinners, quicks, openers and all rounders. No other name came close. I’ve contrived to forget the whole team now, and can’t get at my work email to retrieve it, because of this campsite’s stupid bandwidth restrictions.”

How about Michael? Slater, Atherton, Brearley (c), Vaughan, Clarke, Hussey, Procter, Findlay (wk), Kasprowicz, Holding, Selvey. Okay, no specialist spinner, but Vaughan bowled Tendulkar through the gate once and Clarke took six for nine in a Test, so they’ll do.


And with that exciting development, I’m handing back to Rob, the Kohli of the OBO. (But less of a showman.)

Another update from Our Man. “Umpires are out,” says Nick Miller. “They have umbrellas, one of which has blown inside out. But nonetheless they are inspecting…”

What’s in a name? Quite a long thread, it seems.

“I note with interest,” Ian Forth writes, “that the most popular boy’s name in the US is currently Noah; a name unknown to Test cricket, but curiously appropriate to today’s proceedings.”

“You all,” says Jon Pyle, “seem to have overlooked Australia’s former captain, Ricky Pontiff.”

“It’s a shame,” reckons Harkarn Sumal, “they didn’t give the lad Pope a game at Edgbaston last week. He’d have had the entire rowdy fancy-dress stand singing his praises. Also, if Jennings and Root are the first two English wickets to fall at Lord’s, we’ll be treated to the sight of a choirboy and a Pope together at the cathedral of cricket. Righto, I’ll get my pack-a-mac.”

“Of course,” observes Pete Salmon, “it is traditional for popes to change their names before ascending to office. Perhaps Oliver could confound us all and announce that he is playing as Urban IX, Pius XIII or Celestine VI?”


For the latest, it’s over to Our Man at the Ground. “The rain has slowed to a gentle spit,” says Nick Miller, who’s in the Compton Lower. “The maddening sweet spot between ‘not raining’ and ‘raining enough for the ground staff not to start taking the covers off’. At this stage you’d almost rather a downpour and everyone goes home, than this awful hint of hope. I did just see a bloke passed out with a pint pot in his hand though, so at least people aren’t letting a lack of cricket prevent them from enjoying the cricket.”

“Legal terminology,” says a subject line, ominously. “‘Ben ‘Stokes has taken the stand at Bristol crown court’,” it begins, quoting me from 13:57. “I highly doubt that Stokes is a defendant in an American court. He has gone into the witness box.” The signature says “Adam Roberts, sniffily”. It’s a fair cop – sorry, copper.

The law is a bit like sport, isn’t it? If you don’t know the lingo, the people who do may show no mercy.


“On the Pope front,” begins a Facebook message, promisingly. It’s from my friend Steven Lynch, of the celebrated Ask Steven column, which began on Guardian Unlimited (email immediately if you remember that) before moving over to Cricinfo. “Have you noted the fact that he’s not the first Test-playing Pope? George of Derbyshire won one cap in 1947.”

You won’t believe this, but it turns out that Ollie’s not even the second Test-playing Pope. “There’s also Roland Pope,” Steven continues, “who played one Test for Australia in 1884-85. He was basically the team doctor and cheerleader, but played in the second Test at Melbourne, one of 11 changes from the previous Test after a pay dispute. Batting at No 6, he made 0 and 3, so not a roaring success.” But still, a better debut than Graham Gooch.

“If you type ‘Pope’ into the Cricinfo Test stats thingy,” adds John Leaver, “you get directed to Mark Priest, which I think is pretty cool.”


Never mind the brollies, we’ve got the Ollies. “On behalf of our community,” declares Oliver Pattenden, “I’d like to express a enormous amount of pride in the young Pope.” That is the acceptable face of the papal pun.

“Ollie Pope may be the first Ollie to play for England’s Test team,” notes Steve Padley, “but I understand that Ollie Robinson of Kent has played for England Under-19s. I saw him make an excellent 115 for Beckenham v Tunbridge Wells last Saturday. Perhaps he could become the second Ollie to play Test cricket, given time.”

“A further Oliver tidbit,” offers Mike Bennett. “According to Harry Altham’s book A History of Cricket (vol 1), Oliver Cromwell was apparently a keen cricketer in his younger days, although as he died slightly more than 200 years before the first Test, he might find it difficult to qualify.”

It’s still raining at Lord’s. The dear old English drizzle is back from his holidays, feeling thoroughly refreshed. But Lord’s drains fast (it’s had plenty of practice) and there could still be some play after tea, so don’t go away. In fact, send us an email, especially – at the risk of sounding like the new supply teacher – if you haven’t put your hand up before.

An email comes in picking up on our photo of the two Indian-supporting umbrellas (above, as these words are written). “It is quite possible that the Indian Government may throw these two to the cellars,” says V Krishnamoorthy. “There is a long list of what you can’t do with the Indian flag, longer list than the ICC code of conduct probably.”


Ollie Pope’s name continues to dominate the conversation. “I couldn’t find a list of which are the most common names ever,” says Smylers, “so, going for those assigned to babies born in England and Wales the same year as Ollie Pope [1998], the only more popular name not to have played Test cricket is Hannah: https://www.babynamestats.com/popular_names_england_wales_1998.html Hannah Rowe is in the current New Zealand team, but they only seem to be playing limited-overs cricket: http://www.espncricinfo.com/newzealand/content/player/543550.html.”

“Got to love the fact,” adds Pete Salmon, “that, as of now, there have been more Test players named Mpumelelo, Eldine, Krishnamachari, Faf, Warnakulasuriya, Pommie, Srinivasaraghavan and Lonwabo than Oliver.”

“Cricketing Ollies??!” snorts Pat McGinley. “Colin Milburn, surely!” Nice one.

“Most common names never to play Test cricket?” wonders Don Wilson. “Without running it through StatsGuru, I can’t come up with a Boris, a Jacob or a Nigel. Wouldn’t the world be a happier place if those three had gone into cricket instead of politics?”

“International Ollies!” yells Mike Bennett. “Although Pope will be the first Oliver, there has been an Ollie who played Test cricket. Olive ‘Ollie’ Smith played 4 Tests for Australia Women: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/53570.html

That is superb. Especially as she made more stumpings than runs.


While his team-mates twiddle their thumbs, Ben Stokes has taken the stand at Bristol crown court. We can’t comment on this but we can report it, and here’s the latest from my colleague Martha Kelner.

“Afternoon Tim.” Afternoon, Simon McMahon. “The first Oliver ever to play Test cricket? ‘Knock Knock?’ Who’s there? ‘Oliver’. Oliver who? ‘Oliver clothes are getting wet, it’s pouring with rain at Lord’s’. I’m here all week, by the way.” Whatever you think of the joke, the single quote marks, ready to go within the double ones, are dead classy.

“Most common name never to play Test cricket?” says Hugh Maguire. “Zhang Wei – apparently China’s current most popular name… Or do you want a less smart-Alec response?” This is The Guardian. You’ll find no discrimination against Alecs here, smart or otherwise.


An email from Nick Miller, fellow OBOer and Our Man at the Ground. “Update from Lord’s,” he begins, ever the pro. “The gods are teasing us as the skies very occasionally look a bit brighter, causing us all to peer out to see if it’s stopped. But the relentless drizzle continues. At the moment it’s the sort of rain you might just about carry on in, but wouldn’t start in. Despair.” That’s the spirit.

It takes more than rain to stop Gary Naylor. “Re that 48-6,” he tweets, “you forgot to add Kohli 42*.” Ha. I didn’t want to presume that India would be batting, though it would be nice. In a perfect world, it would be against the rules for the same team to bat first in two back-to-back Tests.

This is frustrating, isn’t it? Especially after the thriller at Edgbaston. Test cricket is such a great leveller, it even brings itself down to earth. Still, it could be worse – cricket, even non-existent cricket, has nothing on the tedium of Transfer Deadline Day.

Time for some correspondence. “The OBO team are playing down in Brighton this coming Sunday,” says Joe Neate, “and due to a couple of injuries are looking a bit short for players. If anyone is around and fancies playing in a fun 4-team charity tournament with plenty of cricket, beer and potentially sun, feel free to reach out to me on joe.neate@gmail.com. All abilities welcome, we have a wide range, and it’s played in a great spirit. It genuinely is just about having a great day and all the teams play in the right way. We have equipment etc so all you’ll need is some white-ish clothes!”

“Good Afternoon from Bangalore!” Good afternoon, Saiprakash. “I was hoping to catch some riveting action only to see the match delayed. I am a bit annoyed that it is 3 days too soon for India’s hopes.. :(”

“Afternoon, Tim.” Afternoon, Bill Hargreaves. “Can’t be easy keeping waiting folks entertained, although I think Polly, Manuel and Sybil made a fine fist of it.”

We need to talk about Ollie. England’s latest 20-year-old, Ollie Pope, is a likely lad, and a likeable lad, but he’s going to be thrust in at No 4, when he has never batted there for Surrey (regular No 6) or even the England Lions (No 5). He seems quite relaxed about this. Are you?

Also, a bloke in a pub told me last night that Pope is going to be the first Oliver ever to play Test cricket. For any country. This seemed far-fetched, but has been confirmed by Stats Guru, which has various Olivers, none of them Test players. “Do you think,” Bloke in Pub went on, “there’s a more common name that has yet to make its Test debut?”

Afternoon everyone and thanks Rob. It’s looking bleak but not hopeless. I have this from no less an authority than Matthew Engel, who has a ticket for the Edrich Stand and reckons “we will get some play, very late – finishing about midnight”. The Met Office (sorry, Pete Salmon, 11:10) has the rain relenting after tea, which might give us 20 overs under the lights, with whoever has lost the toss having time to make 48 for 6.

1pm update

  • The start of the second Test at Lord’s has been delayed by persistent rain
  • An early lunch was taken at 12.30pm
  • Er, that’s it

The great Tim de Lisle will be your weatherman for the next couple of hours. You can email him or tweet @TimdeLisle. Bye!

Legover department “You’re bang on about Johnners still raising a smile,” says Richard Marsden. “It’s the squeaky ‘he hit a four over the wicketkeeper’s head’ that always gets me. But from comedy to tragedy, the great shame about the whole story is that the epilogue is even funnier than the main event, but it’s been more or less lost as far as I can tell. This, from the Telegraph in 2001, summarises it:

“‘Johnston was somewhat embarrassed by his loss of control and refused to share the box with Agnew for almost a year afterwards, for fear that eye contact would cause him to do it again. And indeed he did. Together again in 1993, Agnew passed him a letter to read out, one written by the (authentic) Mr William H Titt. Once again the duo dissolved helplessly, just at the time the teams were coming out onto the field, but this time they were rescued by colleague Trevor Bailey. According to Agnew, Johnston ‘had to be led away, squeaking and wheezing pathetically.’”

“That clip featured in An Innings With Johnners but is no longer available on iPlayer, and I can’t find it anywhere else online. So here comes the appeal: Help me OBO Kenobi, you’re my only hope.”

I think you can stream in on a popular electronic, commerce and cloud computing company website.

“If anyone does attempt a pun of the Papal variety (John Starbuck, 11:16),” says Bill Hargreaves, “it’s possibly best to rely on the practiced retort.”

Unsolved mysteries of the modern world, part 1

Why does Kumar Sangakkara call him David Malan?

“Afternoon Rob,” says Matt Emerson. “I have a ticket for today, but I have been forced to go to the office due to deadline pressures, so is it – to coin a phrase – cowardly to pray for this rain to last all day?”

I’m off to grab a coffee. See you in five minutes for more nothing.


With light still falling, the umpires have decided to take an early lunch. And why not?

Spectators shelter under umbrellas as they try to have lunch in the rain.
Spectators shelter under umbrellas as they try to have lunch in the rain. Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian


“It looks on my (pretty reliable) app that we will have play from around 3pm-4pm,” says Jim F. “As for the toss: at Lord’s as soon as it is overcast or there has been rain you have to bowl first. The wicket won’t give you much on days four and five and with lots of overs likely to be lost will have less wear and tear anyway. So the best chance of 20 wickets surely means making the most of overhead conditions and swing when present. We’re not always that good at this admittedly.”

Yes, a shorter game removes some of the risk of bowling first. That said, England will be conscious of the last Test against India on this ground, when they bowled first, bowled poorly and then batted even worse. If it looks like there will be at least 30 overs’ play today I might bowl first, but if it doesn’t start until tomorrow I’d probably bat.


“I work in Baker Street (just down the road from Lord’s),” writes Pauline Peel, “and I can confirm that there’s no change in the weather – although it may (just) be getting a teeny bit lighter over the Barley Mow (in Dorset Street). There are quite a few of us in the office willing the rain to stop. Not sure our credit with the Almighty is all that good though!”

“‘Precipitation is still occurring’?” sniffs John Starbuck. “Are you turning into Arthur Daley? It’s an odd kind of alter ego for a cricket writer but I expect it has some merits.”

You’re an invertebrate liar, Starbuck.

“Regarding Phil Sawyer’s description of post-married life,” begins Elliot Carr-Barnsley. “I can confidently assert, having also recently disappointed the remaining women of the world by getting engaged, that the scenario he describes is achievable at any stage of the relationship process.”

Legal disclaimer: Guardian Media Group does not encourage OBO readers to sit around in their undercrackers listening to TMS and trolleying booze if they want to remain betrothed for long

Update Precipitation is still occuring in the NW8 postcode area.

“Still sunny in Hereford and set to stay that way tillSaturday,” says Pete Salmon. “It’s a pig of a drive, but if the players and officials get the 13.03 from Euston they could be here by 16.14. The Edgar Street ground is just 15 mins from the station – play underway for 17.00 – we could get half a day in before it gets dark, make up time tomorrow, and then they can all catch the 19.50 back tomorrow. Sorted.”

Yeah, but the regulations won’t allow it. THere’s just no bloomin’ commonsense in cricket.

If you live outside the UK and prefer the audio version of ‘rain stops play’, Romeo has kindly sent in the overseas TMS link.

Seeya then. No it’s fine, I’m not offended. Yeah, have a nice life.

“While I agree that Duncan Fletcher was a genius of a batting coach, for me he also had an almost infantile obsession with pace bowling. Steve Harmison shouldn’t have played half the Tests he did while poor old Matthew Hoggard was unceremoniously dumped after a poor display in NZ.”

I think Hoggard was dumped under Peter Moores. I know what you mean – I wish Martin Bicknell had played more Tests – but Fletcher has so much credit in the bank, and his obsession with pace helped make England pretty competitive away from home.

“Congratulations to Guy Hornsby on his impending nuptials and all that,” says Phil Sawyer, “but some OBOers have blazed through the fiancée stage, screamed through the divorce section and are now well into the ten years and counting sat alone in our pants listening to TMS sucking on ice lollies and falling asleep at the bottom of a bottle stage. Erm, so I hear…”

“My dismay at the weather is being thoroughly tempered by the knowledge that my friend Nick is Ollie Pope’s bat sponsor,” says Richard O’Hagan. “Nick has been rubbing his hands with glee at the prospect of his logo being flashed to the watching millions when young Ollie strides to the crease. The cloud of gloom that will be hanging over him at the moment is definitely making me happier than a rain delay usually would.”

On this day 27 years ago…

I defy anyone to listen to this, even if it’s for the 471st time, and not smile.


Musical interlude (it’s still raining)

“Morning Rob, what a day to be Oli Pope, waiting for the clouds to part to make your bow,” says Guy Hornsby. “Sat up in Manchester preparing for my imminent nuptials on Saturday (yes, an OBOer with an actual fianceé), by which time I’m hoping we’ll have skittled India out for 180 after a monstrous 580 for six declared, with tons for Pope, Cook and Root (finally). That’ll be a decent wedding present, thanks. I’m a realist, so perhaps just escaping abject humiliation is more achievable. And hope we play alright in the cricket, too.”

Oh crikey, I had no idea. Congratulations!

The captains will have a tricky decision at the toss, even if it’s delayed until tomorrow morning. I’m 99.94 per cent certain they’d have batted first had the heatwave continued.

There are only so many ways you can say ‘it’s still raining’. This isn’t looking good.

“I like the thought that Henry reads so violently that he breaks the spine of the books,” writes Mike Daniels. “He’s one of three talented brothers and there’s high hopes for the youngest, Ethan. Henry might end up being sledged a la Mark Waugh (Best all-rounder in the world? Not even the best all-rounder in the family!).

“Do readers send you cakes at all, a la TMS?” asks Bill Hargreaves. “I’d demand it.”

I think we’ve had a few in the past, though a lot of the OBOers work remotely these days, and I’m not giving out my address.

“11:16,” begins David Crowther. “‘Brookes is particularly exciting, though he’s out for the rest of the season with a stress fracture of the book.’

“What on earth is that, an injury known only to literary types?”

Oh dear. Spot what’s swimming around my subconscious.

“Sky have been discussing selection issues and Mike Atherton reckons that at this level the selectors are considerably more influential than the coaches,” says Brian Withington. “He feels that there is relatively little scope for technical development with Test players, so getting the ‘right ones’ on the pitch is the more important task. Interesting point, but not sure he is allowing sufficiently for the potential for a good coach (creating the right environment) to facilitate peak performance even with established players. Discuss.”

Well, he knows slightly more about Test cricket than us, and I do agree that identifying which players will cope with international cricket is the most important thing for a selector or coach. But I do take your point. Duncan Fletcher, a genius of a batting coach, is a great example of the technical influence a coach can have, while Trevor Bayliss’s success with the one-day team demonstrates the importance of creating the environment you mentioned.

“Can the captains change their final XI based on the conditions (drop the spinner for a seamer),” asks Saurabh Rye, “or have team sheets already been submitted?”

They sure can. You don’t submit the team until the toss takes place.

Prose, while u wait. Our old friend Steve Pye has indulged in a bit of masochistic nostalgia by looking at the highlights (sic) of English Test cricket in the 1980s.

“Good morning (which it is this far north),” says John Starbuck in Greenland . “The best scenario would be for England to win the first three matches, then use the last two to experiment. They could rotate Anderson and Broad and blood a couple of younger fast bowlers. But who might these be? The reserve pack, such as Plunkett, might still play a role in the short forms, but there’s a generational shift going on now. Also, capping Ollie Pope will introduce a big packet of puns for cricket writers; got yours ready?”

Oh lord no. My writing is bad enough without resorting to cheesy puns. As for young fast bowlers, there are a few with a lot of promise: Olly Stone, Henry Brookes, the Overton brothers, Matthew Fisher. Brookes is particularly exciting, though he’s out for the rest of the season with a stress fracture of the book.

“Aaaaaaaaaarghhh,” says Pete Salmon. “I want the cricket to start!!! Can’t you do something?! Blazing sun in Hereford. What the hell is going on. Bloody Met Office.”

I thought they only predicted the rain. They create it as well?

No news is bad news: it’s still raining, it’s still miserable. The forecast suggests we may struggle to get any play today.

Before play starts, if indeed it does start, please read this charity appeal on behalf of an extraordinarily brave 12-year-old.

The toss has been delayed. It’s not raining heavily – it’s mizzle at worst – but the covers are still on.

“A highish-scoring affair?” queries Richard Dennis. “Perhaps not. The average completed County Championship innings score at Lord’s this year is 225. It seems it’s a slightly different beast this season.”

Interesting, thanks. For no particular reason, I still expect the first-innings scores to be around 350-400.

Apparently the pitch is fairly green, which makes it more likely that England will pick Chris Woakes ahead of Moeen Ali as a replacement for Ben Stokes. India have a few things to consider: any of Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and Cheteshwar Pujara could come into the team.


Gary Naylor is in the house! Well, the pressbox

“Looking like more off than on here today, even with the fabled drainage at Lord’s. If anyone is up for whiling away the hours between inspections with a bit of analysis of what made the first Test a great one (if not quite an all-time great one), I scribbled lots of words here.”

Whiling away the hours? How many words did you write?



Hello. The addict knows all about guilt; about putting his cravings before the welfare of others. Was it not Trainspotting’s Mark Renton who said, ‘I appreciate what you’re trying to do, I really do, but I JUST NEED ONE MORE OVER OF ANDERSON TO KOHLI, YOU *!&*’?

No, it wasn’t, but had he done so he’d have spoken for many of us. With the possible exception of heroin, which I’ve yet to try, Test cricket is the most moreish drug of all. Yes, we know back-to-back Tests are a Bad Thing. Sure, burnout is one of cricket’s biggest problems. But never mind the bodies, minds and souls of 22 weary cricketers: there’s another Test match for us to enjoy!

The first Test at Edgbaston was the best in this country since 2013. This match should – should – be something completely different: a highish-scoring affair on a pitch that will take turn as the match progresses. The heatwave means the pitch is expected to be very dry, although that heatwave is no more. The forecast for today is pretty poor. Of all the gin joints in all the world, it had to rain on this one.

Play starts at 11am, with the toss at 10.30am.


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England v India: second Test, day one – as it didn't happen | NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE

Rajesh Ahuja

I am a veteran journalist based in Chandigarh India.I joined the profession in June 1982 and worked as a Staff Reporter with the National Herald at Delhi till June 1986. I joined The Hindu at Delhi in 1986 as a Staff Reporter and was promoted as Special Correspondent in 1993 and transferred to Chandigarh. I left The Hindu in September 2012 and launched my own newspaper ventures including this news portal and a weekly newspaper NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE (currently temporarily suspended).