Ball One – Steven Finn looks as fast as the speedgun suggests, bowling a tight line at well over 90mph. It’s his misfortune to be an occasional member of the England team due to the consistency of those picked ahead of him. Has there ever been a better English bowler who has not been a first choice? I can’t think of one.
Ball Two – Though this season has seen an admirable willingness to get matches on – aided by excellent drainage at many grounds and a much more sensible approach to the issue of “bad” light – the game still stops too often. With drinks breaks scheduled on even the chilliest of days (and nobody hurries over those), the action in the middle needs to be continuous apart from the hydration that keeps the medics happy – umpires should do rather more than merely looking exasperated when nothing is happening.
Ball Three – Two early wickets for Broad shows how much he has enjoyed his Indian summer. He’ll have days, indeed seasons, when life is tougher, but he deserves much credit for surfing a combination of form and luck from the moment he was dismissed first ball here in the First Test, a match for which he was a marginal selection. Darkest before dawn.
Ball Four – For all its magnificence, Lord’s refusal to allow flags into the stands diminishes the spectacle of one day cricket. The Oval was a cauldron of noise and passion, with at least 30% of the spectators supporting India and green, white and saffron everywhere. It’s not the same today at all.
Ball Five – From the World Cup Final only a five months ago, India are missing Sehwag, Tendulkar, Gambhir, Yuvraj, Harbhajan, Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth. Unsurprisingly, it shows.
Ball Six – Having taken 14 overs to go from 100 to 140, India took four overs (okay + one ball) to go from 200 to 240. Of course, their caution in the middle overs allowed them to play so many big shots late in the innings, so the approach is sound. Makes fifty overs cricket rather formulaic though.