LV= County Championship, Thursday, August 30
6.30pm: Jon Culley at Warwickshire v Nottinghamshire
Nottinghamshire are at least making a fight of this. After James Taylor trod on his stumps going back to a ball from Chris Wright and Adam Voges flashed at a wide ball that kept low from Tom Milnes to be caught brilliantly by William Porterfield at gully, Chris Read and Alex Hales have added 119 for the fifth wicket with the Warwickshire bowlers as yet unable to separate them. Full report to follow.
6.05pm: David Lloyd at Somerset v Surrey
Chris Adams, Surrey’s team director, has been to the press box to talk about the run-out incident. He revealed that Barrow had been warned, earlier in the over, by Kartik for backing up too far – although a warning is no longer a requirement of the law.
“I think in terms of upholding the laws of cricket it was the right decision (but) I think the situation certainly challenges the spirit of cricket,” said Adams. “That is regrettable.
“I will support the captain in this because I have been out there in many, many situations where it is very intense. These are very intense days for a lot of teams, but especially us. It has been a very, very difficult summer (Surrey’s young player Tom Maynard died in mid-summer) and we find ourselves in a position where every point, every wicket and every run appears to be of the highest premium.”
Adams recalled the dismissal of Ian Bell at Trent Bridge last year, when India ran him out after he thought tea had been called. “In that incidence they (India) had 20 minutes of a tea-break to reflect, discuss and consider and whether it was right to change that decision.
“I think we all breathed a sigh of relief when that decision was overturned. I would like to think that had we been afforded the same 20 minutes that perhaps we would have come to the same outcome. Perhaps we wouldn’t.
“But Gareth is very forthright he considered everything and he got to that decision for the right reasons. He’s had to reflect and asked himself if he made the right decision. He’s convinced that in that decision he did. Would he in the future make the same decision? He doesn’t know.
“I would suggest maybe in the goodness of time we could all say that the one thing that hasn’t been totally upheld is the spirit of cricket, and that is regrettable.”
Kartik, meanwhile, has tweeted: "Everyone get a life, please.. if a batsman is out for a stroll inspite of being warned does that count as being in the spirit of the game?"
4.35pm: David Lloyd at Somerset v Surrey
There is real anger here, and hardly surprising. When Surrey’s players left the field at tea they were booed into their dressing room as spectators gathered by the Andy Caddick pavilion.
One man, who announced himself as a Surrey member, shouted that Batty and Kartik should resign, adding that the team should be “ashamed” of themselves. And among the comments from Somerset supporters was the cry: “You are a disgrace to cricket.”
Somerset captain Marcus Trescothick, who has promised to speak after the day’s play, came down during the tea interval to placate a home supporter who was particularly furious. But a 20-minute interval did nothing to reduce the general strength of feeling.
When Surrey trooped out for the final session, with Batty and Kartik in the leading group, the boos rang out again.
4.30pm: Myles Hodgson at Lancashire v Durham
There may have been a bit of a row brewing at Taunton this afternoon regarding batsmen being run out backing up, but up in the North they appear happy to follow the spirit of cricket. Cricket dressing rooms are notorious for gossip spreading quickly, so it unlikely the two sides emerged after tea at Aigburth unaware of Murali Kartik’s run out.
Whether that influenced Simon Kerrigan, Lancashire’s left-arm spinner, or not is yet to be determined, but he opted to warn non-striker Michael Richardson when he backed up too far rather than appeal for a run out.
Kerrigan would have been in a good mood anyway, having just broken a 90-run opening stand with Mark Stoneman being caught at short leg at the second attempt by Steven Croft.
3.45pm: Jon Culley at Warwickshire v Nottinghamshire
Even though the vast new grandstand has given Edgbaston an imposing feel, it still is a somewhat bleakly utilitarian cricket venue compared, say, with Trent Bridge. But at least it is still called simply Edgbaston. You can understand the commercial benefits of selling naming rights to a stadium but I've always felt that The Oval's various prefixes have cheapened the old ground's tradition. And no sooner had we become used to the Rose Bowl and Riverside in the fixture list than they ceased to exist at all.
I fear for Edgbaston's identity, though, in a city where even the local suburbs appear to have sold their souls for sponsorship. I have been staying during this match at my daughter's flat in Harborne, one of those posh urban enclaves that likes to think of itself as a village. As you enter the High Street there is a sign by the road welcoming visitors, upon which the most prominent word is 'Waitrose'. Much bigger than 'Harborne', which appears in small letters underneath.
This is a worrying trend. Should it be known now as Waitrose Harborne? And how long before they drop the 'Harborne' altogether?
Meanwhile, after a stoppage for bad light, Nottinghamshire are 36-1 in reply to Warwickshire's 504-6 declared. Alex Hales and Michael Lumb, neither of whom will be available for the return match between these sides the week after next, are at the crease. Riki Wessels is the man out, having gone rather tamely when he flicked a ball from Wright to square leg.
3pm: David Lloyd at Somerset v Surrey
No-one is laughing here now. Kartik has just run out Alex Barrow for backing up too far at the non-striker’s end. Umpire Peter Hartley, at the bowler’s end, apparently asked Surrey captain Gareth Batty three times whether he wanted to withdraw the appeal but the Surrey man was not for turning.
The boos started to ring out as Barrow departed – and they continued when it became clear that the batsman was not going to be called back. Then when Kartik bowled again, the boos continued, followed soon after by some slow handclapping.
2.50pm: David Lloyd at Somerset v Surrey
There was a hint that Murali Kartik might be up for this match against his former county when he walloped 23 runs while btting at No 11 on Tuesday. And boy was he ticking this afternoon.
Bowling from the River End, with the strong wind at his back, the left-arm spinner won three lbw decisions in the space of 14 balls to send Somerset staggering from 151 for two to 167 for five.
Hildreth, Jones and Jos Buttler were all beaten – Hildreth trying to sweep and the other two defending – and all of them were left in no doubt how much their departures delighted the bowler. He whooped and hollered and, in the case of Hildreth, clearly said something that found little favour with the batsman.
These things are almost always shrouded in doubt but it is safe to say that Kartik’s move from Somerset to Surrey at the end of last season wasn’t concluded with smiles and handshakes all around.
Anyway, Kartik was laughing early this afternoon – and Somerset needed to rebuild.
2.05pm: Myles Hodgson at Lancashire v Durham
It is difficult for batsmen to resume their innings when a day has been washed out by rain and so it proved for Tom Smith, who had been stranded on 86 while he watched the rain fall yesterday. When he did finally take guard again at 1.00pm, his innings was quickly disrupted by a brief rain shower that was so intense it prompted Paul Collingwood and Phil Mustard to start running off the field even before the umpires had signalled an interruption.
Only 27 balls after taking the new ball, however, Smith was returning to the dressing room again after edging Graham Onions behind for 91 having shared a crucial 110-run stand with Kyle Hogg. To underline the difficulty Smith had in mastering Onions, he scored only four runs off 48 balls faced from the England bowler.
Onions completed his fifth five-wicket haul in 11 matches this season in his next over, removing Glen Chapple’s middle stump as he attempted a heave to the leg-side. He has also conceded only 36 runs in his 25 overs and been hit for only four boundaries off his bowling.
1.15pm: Les Smith at Yorkshire v Gloucestershire
My cautious optimism of twenty minutes ago was misguided. Umpires David Millns and Steve O’Shaughnessy took a brief walk around the fringes of the square, had a chat with the groundsman, and decided that, although it’s no longer raining, there is no prospect of the field being fit for play today.
That means that Yorkshire have now lost the equivalent of 23 County Championship days out of a possible 55, including 13 complete days. So, depending on how the captains, Andrew Gale and Hamish Marshall, decide to play it, we might see something contrived tomorrow, or a day of Yorkshire trying to maximise the returns from a draw. Either way, the weather forecast is for a marked improvement, and we’ll all be grateful just to see some cricket.
1.20pm: Jon Culley at Warwickshire v Nottinghamshire
It has been a tough morning for Nottinghamshire, who have seen Warwickshire's total expand from 298-5 overnight to 456 for the loss of only one wicket, which has effectively put the Trent Bridge side out of the title race this year.
There is no Andre Adams, so it has been left to Andy Carter, Paul Franks and Luke Fletcher to work out a seam-bowling rota with Graeme White twirling in between. Chris Wright was caught at mid-off when his attempt to hit second six off the left-arm spinner flew off a leading edge to mid-off, where Carter took a well judged catch.
Wright was ostensibly a nightwatchman but didn't bat like one as he completed his first half-century since moving to Edgbaston from Essex last season. It was a loan move initially but he bowled so well, taking 22 wickets in four first-class matches, he earned a full contract. He is their joint leading wicket-taker in the Championship this year with Keith Barker, on 45. If there was a better signing last winter, it escaped me.
Tim Ambrose, meanwhile, is unbeaten on 122 after reaching his first century in three years with a couple of boundaries off Paul Franks that took his tally to 17 and he has added two more since. The departure of Wright, meanwhile, merely heralded the arrival of Ian Blackwell, who has been in his meaty element against the flagging Notts attack, smiting 50 off only 39 balls and finishing the morning by clubbing Carter for his fourth six.
Warwickshire have five batting points but after the loss of all of the second day they will try to add a few more before attempting to bowl Notts out twice.
1.10pm: David Lloyd at Somerset v Surrey
The wind, gusting furiously at times, may have helped to dry the outfield but it is causing our old friends from ‘elf and safety’ a few concerns, and rightly so. With the pitch well to one side of the square, Somerset have extended the sight-screen by using large sheets – turning the thing into a sail!
Like Somerset’s batting, it is holding firm at the moment. Actually, the men in the middle are doing rather better than that.
In defence of my earlier comment about Meaker being a handful, he has caused problems with his pace and bounce – and should have had James Hildreth caught at leg gully for 25. Rory Burns made a hash of a stomach-high two-hander, a mistake which has already proved costly.
Hildreth reached 50, from 83 balls, while his third-wicket partner, Chris Jones - a Durham University student - has also passed 40 in this his fourth championship innings of the season. Together they have added 100-plus for the third wicket and taken the hosts to 124 for two with a delayed lunch still 20 minutes away.
12.55pm: Les Smith at Yorkshire v Gloucestershire
In the event that we lose a second full day at North Marine Road, Yorkshire will face a dilemma. Their three bowling bonus points gained on the first day brought them to within ten points of second placed Hampshire. Three additional points for the draw and up to five batting bonus points might potentially reduce the deficit to two points, with a home game against bottom placed Glamorgan to come next week. The alternative would be to go for broke and approach Gloucestershire with a view to setting up a run chase tomorrow afternoon.
In fact, during the last fifteen minutes we’ve seen, while the players have been taking their early lunch, the first signs today that it might not come to that. The heavy rain has finally moved offshore, though the few hardy souls out in the open still have umbrellas up. The cold wind hasn’t abated, though, and while it might help to dry the outfield, it’s likely to make for unpleasant playing conditions for the players if they do get onto the field later.
11.35am: Myles Hodgson at Lancashire v Durham
Talkiing of door-stepping interviews, I was present at one of the finest doomed attempts to get away from the media in recent times at Trent Bridge a few years ago. Michael Vaughan, making one of his comebacks after a knee operation, had been seen, unexpectedly, warming up out in the middle. This attracted the attention of those media in the box, who went down to meet him and try and get a quote.
We were told he had gone to the indoor school, so we followed him there and after completing his net, he answered a couple of questions before attempting to leave our presence. Unfortunately for him, the lift was slow to arrive so he began furiously pressing buttons to try and hasten his departure and end the impromptu press conference. He tried changing the subject to Sheffield Wednesday before the lift finally arrived, which is not a tactic you would expect from Mr Pietersen.
As you can gather from my rambling anecdote, there has been no play so far here at Aigburth. We are already on our third inspection of the morning with Nigel Cowley and Martin Bodenham, the umpires, still looking at the outfield suspiciously.
11.30am: Les Smith at Yorkshire v Gloucestershire
Former Yorkshire and England off spinner Geoff Cope phoned a small Scarborough hotel yesterday to book a room for himself and his wife. The receptionist asked him whether he used to play for Yorkshire, and when he confirmed that he did was told that an ex-colleague was staying there. “His name’s Boycott”.
That, I regret, is the most interesting news I can bring you just now. Lunch will be taken early at 12.30. Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie has expressed a view on the weather in robust Australian terms, and the groundsman reckons we have a 40% chance of play. Rain is not the only issue; it’s also very windy and as I write a steward is retrieving his hat from the roof of the refreshments hut behind the eastern terrace.
We remain jaunty.
11.20am: David Lloyd at Somerset v Surrey
The outfield is good enough for football – well, Surrey’s version of that game, anyway – and now the umpires have decided it is good enough for cricket. Or will be at 11.40, to be precise.
Good news. And only two overs have been lost from the day’s scheduled allocation of 96 so this game could still make significant progress this morning. You have to fancy, as well, that Stuart Meaker, with his express pace, will be a real handful this morning.
10.50am: David Lloyd at Somerset v Surrey
Well, after yesterday’s torrential rain it would have needed a miracle for play to start on time this morning – and we didn’t get one. But what we do have is some decent sunshine and a drying wind so all is not lost, by any means.
Umps Peter Hartley and Steve Gale have had one look and will tread the turf again at 11.15am. It is wet but where there’s a will... And both teams must want to play – Somerset to keep their admittedly slim title hopes alive and Surrey to try to clinch the win that would surely make them safe.
The visitors look better placed just now with 317 runs on the board and two Somerset wickets, including Marcus Trescothick’s, in the bank at a cost of 42 runs.
10.30am: Les Smith at Yorkshire v Gloucestershire
Jaunty as can be at North Marine Road this morning. The bad news is that there’ll be no play before lunch; the good, such as it is, is that at the top end of the ground, in front of the Tea Room, the puddles that were lying on the outfield half an hour ago have disappeared, even though it’s continued to rain heavily. Common sense says that shouldn’t happen, but then common sense also says there should be no spectators in the ground, yet there’s a handful sheltering in the Trafalgar Square Enclosure already. Chins up.
10.15am: The Rise and Shine
How many of you caught the Sky TV interview with Kevin Pietersen yesterday? Doorstepping journalism at its finest, the doostep in this case leading to the dressing rooms at Taunton. Already the Have I Got News For You research team will be sniffing around to ensure that KP's fulsome tribute to Andrew Strauss will be aired again this weekend.
That is the definition of "fulsome" as in "turning away in confused, mute, slightly hounded fashion, as if you never want to speak to the media again in your life." Not surprising really.
Would you have liked to see Andrew Strauss spend a couple of years on the county circuit at the end of his caeer or is that too much to expect for an ambitious man of 35 with other fish to fry? Is it simply impossible to retreat to county cricket after you have scaled the heights with England? And would he have just been blocking up places for younger players anyway?
Shower your opinions upon us.
With most of the attention focused on Strauss in Switch Hit this week, we have an addional county podcast this week where we all pretend that the climax to the season will not be ruined by the weather.
And we hope that Kenny Shovel will be along soon. At least his deadline is here, even if his column isn't.
I seem to be somewhat maudlin this morning. That is what comes off three swift pints of Landlord and a Thai curry at 10 o'clock at night. Time perhaps to leave it to our jaunty team of writers. They will be along shortly.
David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo