Ball One – What has happened to the idea of the tail playing for the batsman at the other end? Possibly gone in the whirlwind of Twenty20 cricket, though 9, 10, Jack seldom bat in the shortest form of the game. I’d suggest that there is simply too much emphasis on aggressive cricket. There’s more than one way to win a match and the Waugh way is not the only one – sometimes blocking pays.
Ball Two – 163-7 and the ball is still doing plenty, but Daryl Mitchell feels that he needs four men on the boundary with mid-on half way back. The alacrity with which today’s captains go on to the defensive never ceases to amaze me.
Ball Three – Surrey have taken their singles really well, an example of the kind of positive cricket that led to their CB40 triumph at the end of last season. There’s an art to running singles, but there’s a bit of science too – decide where you can get one, hit it there and run quickly. That’s as much about attitude as it is about skill.
Ball Four – So is this the kind of pitch on which sides can be bowled out for less than 150? Or is it the kind of pitch on which the last three wickets can add 82. Of course, it is both – the pitch is always less important than the skills and approaches of the players.
Ball Five – Proving the point that circumspection can be an attacking weapon, Daryl Mitchell has crawled to 10, but his team are 70-0 with Michael Klinger going well on 57. A little self-belief, some judicious shot selection and patience can turn a match.
Ball Six – And just when the game was set for a grand finale, the rain comes down and dampens not just the ground, but the enthusiasm. But cricket is like that – in thrall to the caprice of the weather. We shouldn’t really complain that it rains so much, we should be grateful that it rains so little.
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