The forecast is much better for the last two days, so I’d be loath to assume a draw at this stage. Please join Adam and Tanya in the morning for all the action/unexpected rain. Thanks for your company - bye!
“I think you’re being a bit unfair to Ricky Ponting here,” says Jeremy Yapp. “After all he made 13,378 Test runs so with 15 dismissals that means he averaged 891.87 against runouts, which is pretty handy.”
“Many batsmen at the top of the run-out list,” says Speedy, “are clearly only there because there was no other sodding way of getting them out.”
There will be another inspection at 5.20pm, and some of the covers are coming off. I’m off to ingest some coffee, just in case. See you in 15 minutes.
“I think what Simon is getting at is how can a batsman’s innings total be split,” says Gerard Mullally. “But as the calculation is total runs scored against spin divided by wickets lost against spin, there’s no need to consider an individual innings score. I guess if a batsman scores 50 runs, 30 of which is against seam, and is bowled by a seam bowler, it would be the equivalent of being 20 not out for his spin stats, and 30 and out for his seam stats. What I want to know is what happens if the batsman is run out? Did Inzamam-Ul-Haq have unusually high averages against all types of bowling due to his wonderfully confusing running between wickets?”
Ha. He was only run out six times in Tests, you know. The record is 15. Guess who?
“Regarding the prospect of a result, here’s one I made earlier,” says Phil Harrison. “If England get Smith in the first half hour or so, game on! Adelaide 2006 it is then...”
Scarred minds think alike.
“For bowlers, that kind of stat makes some sense, not for batsmen,” says Simon. “When people say “he averages 25 against spin” what is the calculation that is being done? It isn’t clear to me. A batting average is the number of runs divided by the number of dismissals (I hope I’ve got that right) so what is the calculation when you’re just including a subset of the balls in each innings?”
It shows his or her ability against certain types of bowling, no? Steve Smith is the obvious example – in the last three years or so he averages 21 against left-arm spin, and 48.2 million against all other types of bowling. That has to mean something.
I still think we might get a result in this game. The forecast is fine for the last two days, so there could be up to 196 overs still to bowl. There could be considerable scope for England to have an Adelaide in the third innings.
“Hi Rob,” says Andrew Goldsby. “The 2005 Ashes started at 10.30am because Channel 4 wanted to be finished for Hollyoaks. The Free-to-Air-at-all-costs folks tend to forget that C4 wasn’t all that much in love with cricket towards the end.”
A 10.30am start is one thing, 9am quite another. I can’t see how it would work, and there’s a fairness issue as well. That said, I know the square root of diddly squat about golf, so would be interested to find out more about how they do it.
“Where has all this, ‘He averages 11 against short balls and 26 against spin’ stuff come from?” says Simon Gates. ‘Is there some sort of new toy that all the commentators are playing with? It’s maddening because it’s all meaningless. It would make sense to talk about runs per ball or per over, but averages are just weird. PS I am a statistician.”
Why are they weird? I think those stats, though inevitably overdone, are generally a very good thing. Take one example – Nathan Lyon’s averages against left-handers (25ish) and right-handers (35ish). That’s a great stat, which reinforces what we see every time he bowls.
“What we spectators don’t usually see is all the preparation each day,” says John Starbuck. “If the match days were to begin at 09am there wouldn’t be time enough for people to catch the right bus/train (which in rush hour would be packed out anyway), the administrators to work out when sustenance breaks should be (elevenses followed by a late lunch?), the catering staff to do their shopping, the groundsman’s staff to paint lines and nurture the grass, the members to put in their drinks orders etc. unless you wish to upset a great many people. Given its cricket, the whole project would last three years minimum. Makes Brexit look like a picnic.”
“Egads!” says Peter Lee. “What are Julie Wilson and Spencer Robinson thinking about starting earlier.... at 9am? We all know deep down inside that the joy of cricket is the sublime knowledge that someone out there is a person of leisure, whose only role in life is to cast a red ball around (slowly or fast, whatever) and perhaps knock it about a bit. Unlike the rest of us who toil at the four-letter thing we call ‘work’. Starting earlier would make cricketers just like us nine-to-fivers..... and that simply won’t do.”
“The vid of the kid getting a wicket is great,” says Mark Dawson. “More weirdly, the truncated/repeated laugh of the cameraman sounds just like the loop in ‘Hands Around My Throat’ by Death in Vegas. Spooky.”
There will be an inspection at 4.30pm. The rain has almost stopped, so the umpires are going to take another look in half an hour. If there’s no rain, we’ll get some play tonight. But the forecast is dreadful, so.
“How would starting earlier be messy?” says Julie Wilson. “Playing later seems to be manageable. Starting earlier seems an obvious thing to do.”
I’m not sure. Who decides when play starts? In England, certainly, the ball moves around a lot more before 11am (remember all those NatWest Trophy finals in the 1980s and 1990s). What happens if a team is bowled out in helpful conditions from 9-11am and then it doesn’t rain all day? They would feel cheated. Imagine if a series as important as, say, the 2005 Ashes was decided because of a rogue weather forecast.
“Given that there’s no play in the Test, surely someone has time to make a montage of ‘Steve Smith leaving the ball’ set to the sort of music used in the training sequence of an 80s movie?” says Cath Hanley. “I’d watch it …”
Oh my goodness, that’s a great idea. And, with a tip of me hat to Matt Dony in yesterday’s OBO, I think we all know what the soundtrack would be.
The umpires have brought tea forward to 3.40pm, so that we can have a longer evening session if it stops raining in the next 12 seconds or so. There are a few spectators hanging around, but it appears the majority have started weekending.
“Hi Rob,” says Spencer Robinson. “When bad weather is forecast at golf tournaments here in Asia, tee-times are invariably brought forward to try and ensure the full number of holes can be completed. Given that everyone knew it was going to bucket down at Lord’s this afternoon, why on earth was play not started at 9am? At least then we may have got through two sessions.”
I like the idea in principle, but I fear it would be a can of worms. It’s different in golf, when everybody plays 18 holes in the same conditions. In cricket, when one side is batting and another bowling, it could get a bit messy. But it’s worth trialling, maybe in 2ndXI cricket.
“Fantastic photo at the top of the page,” says Bill Hargreaves. “‘England captain Joe Root calls for a review”. The expressions make it look like it was directed by Caravaggio. The ‘T’ sign being made by Joe - does that stand for ‘telly’? Also, did you see this wonderful clip?”
I can hear Richie Benaud commentating on that. “Now that is a beautiful piece of bowling. It was flatter and quicker, and the batsman was marooned to the crease.”
No news is bad news
It’s still raining. You’re welcome to hang around if you want, but please don’t expect a euphoric experience. My prediction is that play will be abandoned for the day at 5.02pm.
“Speaking of indoor cricket, I was at this match,” says Ben Mimmack, “which was apparently the first indoor ODI. My main memory of the game is that during the break they had spectators trying to hit a ball up to the roof to win a prize and one bloke swung so hard he fell over. Also a couple of Aussies bludgeoned centuries. Do you know why indoor ODIs aren’t played more often - I suppose weather isn’t really an issue during the Australian summer.”
“Following on from the Wear Red for Ruth Day at Lord’s, I wanted to let you know about an event happening in Oxford this Sunday,” says Sarah Whatman. “Thirteen teams will be taking part in Naida’s Netball - a mixed netball tournament (each team must include some men). This tournament is part of Naida’s efforts to raise money for the Cancer and Haematology Centre, Day Treatment Unit at the Churchill Hospital, which is where she has been treated for breast cancer since the start of the year.
“The original fundraising target of £1500 has been passed and will hopefully reach £2000 with the tournament, raffle and cake sale this weekend. We’re hoping that unlike the cricket, there won’t be any rain delays. Many of Naida’s teammates, friends and colleagues are taking part on Sunday and there are a lot of husbands, brothers, boyfriends and sons genning up on the rules of netball as I write. Naida’s fundraising page can be found here.”
It sounds like a slam dunk. That’s a netball term, right.
It’s still raining at Lord’s, and the forecast suggests there is unlikely to be any more play. The outlook for the last two days is much better, however, so a result is still possible. So is world peace, I suppose.
Ali Martin writes...
Eoin Morgan has stated his desire to stay on as England’s limited overs captain and lead the side into next year’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia – provided he can overcome a longstanding back injury.
Asked about his future on BBC Test Match Special, Morgan replied: “I need more time to think, that’s the honest answer. It’s a big decision. It’s a big commitment. Given the injury I went through during the World Cup, I need time to get fully fit.
“It’s a physical thing. The amount of training I could do throughout the World Cup was quite limited. I was trying to get the most out of it.
“It’s my back. I actually need the season to end pretty soon so I can have that time to physically get fit and guarantee its not an injury risk between this year and next, then I’ll be able to make a call on it.”
On whether he wants to take England to the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia next October, Morgan added: “Absolutely, who doesn’t? But I don’t want to let anybody down. When you lead you have to lead from the front. You have to be physically fit and finding form is another thing. Hopefully that works itself out.”
Thanks Geoff, hello everyone. You want rain chat? I can give you rain chat. There are ways. You don’t wanna know about it, believe me. Hell, I can give you rain chat by 3 o’clock this afternoon. But first, some news on Eoin Morgan.
That’s enough rain chat from me. Get ready for some rain chat from Rob Smyth. I’ll be back on day five to continue the rain chat then. Thanks for your company as ever.
“The hat is not the answer,” writes Geoff Saunders. “I used to work in Moscow and on every official holiday we had lovely sunshine - never rain. How? Because the then Mayor – Luzhkov – had the clouds around the city seeded so the rain fell outside the city and no clouds got inside the city boundaries (or outside when they had the airshows out in the boonies).”
I think the links between London and Moscow are already rather stronger than we might like.
It was a very good call from Slough, anyway, about the rain starting at lunchtime. I don’t know if Slough has any intelligence (ha ha) about when the rain might stop. It’s faintly drizzling still at the Home of Damp and Cricket.
“I’ve just checked with my team of consulting engineers and they said the idea of putting a roof on is so 1980s. These days, apparently, we’d go for a fleet of hydroscopic (or something) micro drones. About ten million of them should do it, according to their rough calculations.”
We’re back to the drones. Thanks, Garry Sharp.
“If we go with Arran Watson and put a hat on Lords I wonder if you’d be able to fiddle with the aircon and get it to swing all day. It’d be tampering but it’d be so clever I don’t think anyone would mind.”
Just home ground advantage, Chris Lingwood, surely?
Arran Watson writes in. “Call it a knee-jerk reaction if you will, but with all this global warming & stormy summers we can expect in UK in years to come, isn’t it becoming sensible to finally get round to sticking a roof on cricket grounds?”
I’m not sure how easy it would be to just whack a roof on the ol’ Lord’s. Maybe some sort of transparent umbrella canopy might suit the style. It might also be a good idea to put the kibosh on all of these charmers trying to get fracking going in the UK, and maybe put the heat on Australia to stop trying to open a new coal mine every five minutes.
“This may be a foolish question, but if the average for top order batsmen against balls on the stumps is really 15, does that not suggest a winning strategy?!”
Very fair question, John Cox. I’ve got the boffins on it. My inclination would be that it works better as an occasional surprise ball, given the ball on the stumps should be one of the easiest to hit. If you only bowl on the stumps, the delivery becomes easier to play, but if it’s once in a while then the mistake is more likely. Also a batsman can miss outside the stumps and not be out, but any miss in line with the stumps means a wicket.