September 5, 2012

LV= County Championship, Wednesday September 5

David Hopps

6.00pm: David Lloyd at Kent v Derbyshire

Spinners Wes Durston and David Wainwright have struck back by taking three late wickets. At 59 for three, Kent are 120 ahead and hold a good advantage. But there is a lot of fascinating cricket left in this match.

6:00pm: Vithushan Ehantharajah at Middlesex v Lancashire

There are bucket loads of runs in this pitch. Sure, it takes a while to get used to the two-paced nature of it, but with little lateral movement, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t fill your boots (an expression I’ve never totally understood – fill them with what, more feet? – but regularly throw about in these situations).

By the end of today, we should have had three centurions in Neil Dexter, Gareth Berg and Tom Smith. Only Dexter reached three figures, and he looked the least comfortable of the three. Lancashire will need two tons on their first innings card if they are to stand any chance of not losing this game, let alone winning it. Smith, Procter and Horton all got starts, but failed to capitalise.

Prince is quietly going about his business, but will need to see out the day and start again tomorrow morning.

After two overs of Dawid Malan bowling something vaguely resembling leg-spin, the umpires have decided enough is enough, and have politely asked him to leave the field.

Stumps on day two – Lancashire 236 for 3.

5.30pm: Ivo Tennant at Hampshire v Essex

According to ‘insiders,’ as contacts of royal correspondents are known, there would seem to be only a slim possibility of Murray Goodwin joining Essex next year. For a start, Owais Shah occupies the position of senior batsman, Greg Smith cannot get into the side at present and, at this rate, Ravi Bopara will be available more often. Bowlers are more sought after. Still, this is the county that once signed the venerable Matthew Walker.

5.25pm: Jarrod Kimber at Surrey v Notts

Luke Fletcher is the 9th wicket for Notts at the Oval, given out LBW to Linley who was probed consistently well today. Insert any joke you feel like.

Had the LBW not been given, it would have been five penalty runs as Gareth Batty knocked the ball onto the helmet while instead of taking it cleanly.

I’m not sure anyone else noticed the ball hitting the helmet behind GW, but I like to think I watch a little bit harder than most.

Notts are 212 for 9.

4.50pm: Les Smith at Yorkshire v Glamorgan

The young tattooed man at Hove, when he takes his shirt off there in 30 years’ time, might be observed by someone who recognises it as a quote from one of the most gorgeous of The Smiths’ many gorgeous songs, “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”. It’s so tempting to link that to Geoff Boycott, who’s here today, but I will desist.

The Yorkshire tail is wagging after the innings stalled before and after tea. Ryan Sidebottom and Steven Patterson have put on 41 so far the ninth wicket, and Yorkshire are 55 ahead.

4:05pm: Vithushan Ehantharajah at Middlesex v Lancashire

As exciting as it is seeing young upstarts do battle in the county arena, desperately trying to reach their cricketing mecca – the England Performance Squad – there’s something glorious about watching Corey Collymore ‘running’ in to bowl at Ashwell Prince.

With 70 years and 96 Test matches between them, it’s not been the most rip-roaring of encounters. Prince got in behind the majority of deliveries before Collymore, like the true pro he is, decided to lighten Prince’s load by coming around the wicket and bowling wide enough for him to leave comfortably.

They’re reunited in the second over after tea and nearly collide as Ashwell Prince attempts to run through Collymore. He changes course at the very last second, but Collymore doesn’t flinch and there’s a slight collision. They’re both clearly up for the fight.

Or both losing their reactions.

3.50pm: David Lloyd at Kent v Derbyshire

A precious bonus point! 200 all out may not have been what Derbyshire had in mind this morning (in fact, it definitely wasn’t) but in the end that score represented a handy recovery from 130 for eight.

Brendan Nash’s left-arm wrist spin did for Tim Groenewald almost immediately after tea, then last man Mark Turner twice edged Coles through the slip cordon before Poynton pushed a couple of runs to bring up 200.

Poynton had his middle stump uprooted by Coles next ball but his 45 meant that the visitors trailed by only 61 on first innings when it might have been considerably worse.

3.45pm: George Dobell at Worcestershire v Warwickshire

If Phil Hughes is the future of Australian cricket - and, to be fair, not many people think he is - then they really are in deep trouble. With his side trailing by 411 on first innings - yes, 411 - he has fallen in the second over of Worcestershire’s second innings to a shot that might have been considered inappropriate in the last over of a T20 game with his side requiring 12 to win. He attempted an ugly slash at a wide one with negligible foot movement and was very well caught by William Porterfield at third slip. It was not the shot of a man who you would want opening for you in an Ashes series.

Earlier Ian Blackwell was dismissed moments after it was announced that tea was being served in the Ladies Pavilion. Coincidence?

3.35pm: David Hopps at Sussex v Somerset

It a gorgeous late summer’s day at Hove, the sort that England had seemingly forgotten how to produce, and Sussex are topping up their lead rather like a few of the spectators are topping up their tans: pleasurably and methodically with a minimum amount of fuss. They are 91 for 2 at tea and lead by 178. Somerset have a lot to do to turn this round.

One of the younger spectators sunbathing a few rows in front of me had a tattoo on his back saying “To die by your side would be the most heavenly way to die.” It struck me that if you are young you come to cricket grounds wearing tattoos romanticising about dying, but if you are old and frail, on such a blissful afternoon as this, you probably do look around and think there could be few nicer places to go. And occasionally some people do.

In half a century perhaps, if county cricket still exists, that once young lad will take his shirt off, everybody will read his tattoo and feel slightly uncomfortable as a result.

Murray Goodwin has suffered a small death this week in that Sussex have released him after 12 years at Hove and it is being generally assumed that retirement will follow. He got a half-standing ovation as he came to the crease for the last time to follow his sitting ovation yesterday. There is probably etiquette for this but I don’t claim to know it. He began with a dash – four fours in eight balls, from Sajid Mahmood and Alfonso Thomas – but slowed to be 21 from 39 balls by tea.

The suggestion is, though, that Goodwin wants to play on, Perhaps Surrey, who need batsmen, might be tempted to give him a last hurrah? He is also known as a good dressing room man and Surrey, after what they have been through, could make use of that.

3.20pm: Ivo Tennant at Hampshire v Essex

Now here’s a surprise: Shane Warne, looking considerably slimmer than when he captained Hampshire, has chosen his England side for the first Test in India this winter and has included his old team-mate, Michael Carberry.

Not a bad choice, of course, even if Carberry has missed a large chunk of the season. And it is no surprise, also, that KP is in. Warney rated Dimitri Mascarenhas and Nic Pothas highly, too, but in fairness to the great leg spinner, no-one knows what makes a cricketer tick quite like him.

3.15pm: David Lloyd at Kent v Derbyshire

Who needs history to help you out when you’ve got Tom Poynton? A fortnight ago, Derbyshire’s wicketkeeper scored his maiden first-class century (against Northants) while sharing in an astonishing ninth wicket stand of 261 with Madsen – and he is making valuable runs again today.

Badly missed at slip by Rob Key, on six, Poynton put together an unbeaten half-century partnership with Tim Groenewald (also dropped in the slips, when two) as the visitors rose to 181 for eight by tea.

3.10pm: Les Smith at Yorkshire v Glamorgan

I occasionally umpire my club’s first team in Saturday league games, but I don’t really enjoy it. The main reason is the anxiety about knowing that one mistaken flick of the index finger could ruin somebody’s weekend. I suspect that umpires at this level harbour no such insecurities, but Neil Bainton might nevertheless have some misgivings about sending Adam Lyth on his way LBW. Lyth’s furious reaction might have been caused by frustration at his second successive failure to convert a 90 at Headingley into a century, but he did seem to indicate that he had hit the ball. Moreover, from where I’m sitting it looked as though it might have been missing leg stump.

England selector James Whitaker decided to stick around after Joe Root’s dismissal this morning. In fact he was practising his golf swing in the press box a few minutes ago. I’m not in a position to comment on the quality, because golf is a stupid game and I have absolutely no interest it. But if he stayed to watch Adam Lyth, he must have been impressed. The Whitbeian (I thank I might just have invented the correct term for a person from Whitby, though apparently Codhead is a contender) was imperious, especially through the off side, and a century appeared inevitable.

As tea approaches, Yorkshire have just reached 250 and are 20 runs behind with six wickets in hand.

3.10pm: Jarrod Kimber at Surrey v Notts

The game is at its mid innings plucky partnership phrase, just like yesterday. This is not a pitch the groundsman will take a photo of and upload on instagram. If he did, no one would “like” it. The old ball doesn’t seem to like this pitch much; you can hear it yawn off the surface as de Breyn delivers it. Occasionally it keeps low, which you can tell by the groans of the old men beside the press box.

That said, there is a buzz around the ground at the moment. A bit of investigating has lead me to believe that there is a rumour that Piers Morgan is heading down to the Oval to see his favourite player in action today. GW and Piers have been mates for a long time, Piers loves glovemen and has been annoyed at the treatment of GW from the Irish cricket establishment.

While Notts are 128 for five, most people are talking about the exciting teaser from the film ‘Death of a Gentleman’. Yes, I am that shameless.

In other news, there is a fake twitter account for Arun Harinath (@Baronharinath). It’s full of “gems” like ‘Going to watch the Olympics tonight.... I could teach those athletes a thing or two about training’.

2.45pm: George Dobell at Worcestershire v Warwickshire

The uneven struggle continues. Warwickshire’s lead is now approaching 400 and Keith Barker and Ian Blackwell are now thrashing the bowling around New Road with some relish. Worcestershire’s body language suggests all sharp instruments should be removed from their dressing room.

It is not all good news for Warwickshire. Jonathan Trott has been ruled out of the CB40 final - and all other cricket - following the news that hand injury he sustained in the fourth ODI is a small fracture. William Porterfield and Boyd Rankin (both of whom will be on World T20 duty) will also be absent, while there are doubts over the fitness of Tim Ambrose (thigh injury).

2.40pm: David Lloyd at Kent v Derbyshire

Derbyshire have lost another wicket, Tony Palladino driving Darren Stevens straight to cover, but the scoreboard is not without hope for the visitors – not if they cast their minds back just a month.

So far, the totals here are very similar to those posted during the season’s first meeting: Kent 261 (was 265 at Derby), Derbyshire 130-8 (132 a month ago). In August, Kent managed 161 second time around, only to lose a thriller by two wickets as the hosts reached 298 for eight.

History has a funny habit of repeating itself? We’ll see.

2:40pm: Vithushan Ehantharajah at Middlesex v Lancashire

Tom Smith has done well at the top of the order. Paul Horton would usually accompany Luke Procter at the beginning of Lancashire’s innings, but he injured his hand when he dropped Steven Crook at first slip earlier in the day.

One of my best friends was confused for Tom Smith by an Old Trafford steward at a Lancashire game a few years ago. Not as in, “What are you doing drinking that – you’re supposed to be opening the bowling?!’ But, “Oh, you’re that Tom Smith!” There are some obvious differences between the two.

My friend has always been an opening batsman (and a very good one); he spent the majority of his student life with a picture of Michael Atherton playing a cover-drive above his bed. Not that all opening batsmen need to have a picture of their hero above their bed, but I certainly think it helps. He also ran a half-marathon with minimal training and a diet of peanut butter on toast and haggis pizza.

Smith reaches a well fashioned fifty off 88 balls, acknowledging the Lancs dressing room with his bat. My friend never let me borrow his bat.

I’ll never forgive you for that, Ben.

1.50pm: David Lloyd at Kent v Derbyshire

Tighter and tighter, tenser and tenser...

Dan Redfern’s uncomfortable stay ended just before lunch, prodding at Matt Coles without much foot movement, and Ross Whiteley followed early this afternoon, thin edging the deserving Davies.

This was worrying for Derbyshire, but not a cause for panic so long as Madsen held firm. ‘So long as’ being the key words. A couple of overs later, the opener, captain and former South Africa hockey international chopped on against Davies when playing back to fall for 64.

Suddenly, almost out of nothing, the innings was falling apart. And when David Wainwright drove at Davies to snick to first slip, five wickets had gone for the addition of 23 runs.

The visitors and leaders were in a hole at 112 for seven while Davies had figures of five for 27, his first full handful of the season.

1.40pm: Ivo Tennant at Hampshire v Essex

Talking of Danny Briggs’ impending wedding – as we have been at West End as well as on the blogs – it should not be forgotten that Tony Pigott, now an ECB pitch inspector and at the time a tearaway fast bowler for Sussex, postponed his nuptials so that he could play for England. This was in New Zealand in 1984. Just as well he did, for it was his only Test appearance (he took two wickets) – and he was to separate from his wife, anyway. We wish Danny well. He is likeable and modest. The likelihood is that he will be touring in winter for at least the next 15 years, so his fiancé should go on some good trips.

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1.40pm: George Dobell at Worcestershire v Warwickshire

Warwickshire have secured their fourth batting bonus point with seven deliveries of the 110 overs in which bonus points can be scored to go. It means that, if they go on to win this game, they will be confirmed as County Champions. Bearing in mind that their lead in this game is now approaching 300 and we have not yet reached the halfway stage of the match and you would think they were really quite optimistic.

1.05pm: David Hopps at Sussex v Somerset

In answer to the ageing rocker, Mr Smith, I always regarded Lester Nelson as the first baby-faced assassin. He was a mafia killer in 1930s America and from his pictures looked a bit like Leonardo Di Caprio after a rough night on the town. He was a bank robber and killed FBI agents for a hobby.

Others may claim that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was the first baby-faced assassin. He scored goals for Manchester United. Some will say that this was a more criminal act.

On a sunny day at Hove, we are just awaiting what seems to be an inevitable Sussex first-innings lead. Somerset are 124 for 8 at lunch. So much for me assuming that 300 was a par score on this pitch.

Monty Panesar has 3 for 11 and presumably has high hopes of joining England’s Test tour of India. When Steve Snell drove him to mid-off, Monty half-heartedly joined the celebrations as if he was not entirely sure he had been invited, like the hanger-on walking into the room at a student party. Well, not entirely like that because obviously he wasn’t carrying a cheap four-pack of lager. His last wicket, Abdur Rehman, was an inconsequential wide one which Rehman hacked to backward point.

Talking of left-arm spinners, it was disappointing to read yesterday of Danny Briggs' wedding arrangements. His wedding has been postponed once already so he can join England for World Twenty20, but it has been rescheduled slap back in the middle of the Champions Trophy so if Hampshire reach the final stages, Danny won’t be able to take part.

For my own wedding in the mists of time, my mother-in-law ruled the roost. I doubt if she would have taken the international cricket calendar into account had my left-arm spin been in the same league as the admirably elegant Mr Briggs. I daren’t even begin to imagine who is i/c the wedding between Briggs and his betrothed. I just think it’s a shame that’s all. But maybe my priorities are hopelessly skewed.

12:45pm: Vithushan Ehantharajah at Middlesex v Lancashire

Ravi Patel and I have a lot in common; - We’re both of South Asian descent. - We've both played club cricket in Ealing. - We’re both scared of Ajmal Shahzad.

In his 20-run cameo, Patel made more strides back than he did forward, at times shifting his back-foot to the leg-side, just waiting to avoid a Shahzad bouncer. Of course, this opened up the patented tail-ender slap back past the bowler, which Patel decided to bring out to good effect. Shahzad didn’t look impressed, but I’d like to think he’s played that shot enough in his time to appreciate the satisfaction Patel was feeling on impact. He then goes around the wicket and tries to knock young Ravi’s head off.

We’re given a token over of Patel’s left-arm spin before lunch, and he seems to be getting more turn than his bowl-a-like Simon Kerrigan. He throws in a little Mohammed Hafeez/Saeed Ajmal mid-action pause for his last ball.

If he likes calamari and cheesecake, we’re basically the same person.

Lancashire are 18 without loss at lunch.

12.25pm: Ivo Tennant at Hampshire v Essex

It seems unlikely that Dimitri Mascarenhas, who is not playing in this match, will be fit enough to appear for Hampshire in the CB final at Lord’s, even though he has a further ten days to recover from the back muscle injury that afflicted him during their t20 finals day triumph at Cardiff. Not that this seemed to hamper his ability to bowl as effectively as ever. He was at West End yesterday, appearing otherwise to be very fit. His county have enough seamers to be coping without him in terms of bowling out Essex in helpful conditions here, but will miss him badly should he not play on September 15.

12:25pm: Jarrod Kimber at Surrey v Notts

The necronomicon is a book written by the mad poet Abdul Alhazred in 738AD. It’s a book used by many people who believe in the occult to find spells and such. Some Satanists claim it is the most important book in history. Famed explorer Ash Williams was a reader of the book. You can buy it on Amazon. And it’s been mentioned in many songs and films.

The only problem is, the book isn’t real. It does not exist, at all. There was no Abdul, mad or otherwise. It was invented as a plot point by HP Lovecraft, the racist often-brilliant sci-fi writer.

To surmise, Surrey have got a batting point this morning. The question is, just because you can earn them, see them on the table and teams crawl painfully towards them, do batting points really exist?

Surrey were bowled out for 269 when Gurney got one to go underground and bowl Linley. Meaker was unbeaten on 29. 29 is a magical number that helps you get batting points according to the necronomicon.

After that, Meaker continued to inspire Surrey with his occultist pace, and Notts are now 53 for 3.

12.15pm: David Lloyd at Kent v Derbyshire

A slow-moving scoreboard might suggest a session of snooze-cricket, but far from it. This has been really good, tight stuff from two teams desperate to take control of a vital game while giving nothing away.

The first hour saw just 18 runs scored from 16 overs, for the loss of Wes Durston, with Mark Davies taking his sweater after a terrific spell of 8-7-4-1.

With the general feeling being that this pitch is not quite as comfortable to bat on as both teams thought it would be, especially when the ball is new or newish, we knew we were in for some tough cricket. And so it proved.

Durston tried to break free early on, taking a step down the pitch in an attempt to loft Davies wide of mid-on. Instead, a leading edge looped to mid-off where Alex Blake, back-pedalling, took a fine, overhead catch.

Thereafter Wayne Madsen and Paul Borrington - prevented from opening Derbshire’s innings yesterday after having his nose re-arranged in a fielding mishap – dug extremely deep. And their reward came, eventually, once Davies and Charlie Shreck took a blow,

Madsen completed a 104-ball half-century, Borrington moved into the 20s and the second division leaders were starting to sit pretty at 89 for two in reply to 261 all out. Kent, though, are a long way from being out of either this match or the promotion picture and their spirits were given a considerable lift when Borrington gave a bat-pad catch to short leg off the bowling of young spinner Adam Riley.

12.15pm: Kenny Shovel alert!

The latest County Cricket Matters was published late yesterday to a fanfare of infant-school recorders. You can read it here

12.10pm: Les Smith at Yorkshire v Glamorgan

Worrying news from Headingley, where a lady on the eastern terrace says, “12th of the 12th of the 12th. World’s coming to an end”. What this means, of course, is that even if Yorkshire win this match and go on to secure promotion, they will never play another game in Division 1 of the County Championship. It will also disappoint the daughter whom I’ve promised to visit in France next summer.

However, in the event that the lady is misinformed, Adam Lyth’s efforts this morning may well yet be rewarded. He has progressed patiently to 46 not out and now, accompanied by Andrew Gale, is becoming more expansive. Yorkshire have reduced their first innings deficit to 162 with eight wickets remaining. There has been variable bounce and a deal of playing and missing, but on the sort of day that should give Leeds a better weather name than it has, there is no reason why Yorkshire shouldn’t make hay this afternoon.

Meanwhile, Mrs Happy’s husband provides insightful analysis of the Paralympics: “’E 'ad only one arm but it were coming over like bloody clappers”.

11.55am: George Dobell at Worcestershire v Warwickshire

Varun Chopra has just become the fourth man this season to record 1,000 first-class runs this season. He is only a couple of boundaries short of 1,000 for the Championship season, too.

11.50am: David Hopps at Sussex v Somerset

At 68 for 1, Somerset were making sturdy, if unspectacular, progress towards Sussex’s 221. Then Marcus Trescothick, 20,000 first-class runs under his belt, fell lbw to the rangy Steve Magoffin, tanking down the hill, and Somerset lost three wickets for three runs in three overs, the weakest shot from James Hildreth. A prial of threes might be OK in three-card brag but it does not help you win in the Championship.

Peter Trego bats like a gambler. In fact, he bats like The Dice Man, the novel by Luke Rhinehart, which tells of a psychiatrist who begins making life decisions based on the casting of dice. It is a cult classic but not recommended for anyone of a persuasive disposition, not unless you want your life to take on exciting, self-destructive qualities.

Trego took four boundaries in a row off Magoffin but then self-destructed hooking James Anyon to deep backward square, an athletic catch by Chris Nash. That left Somerset 106 for 5. This is beginning to shape like a three-day match.

I rolled a mental dice to decide whether to pop into my hotel bar last night when I heard the sound of Nessun Dorma. A man in well-used operatic dress and with wild, white hair was serenading a birthday party. Well, I say serenading. It was half Pavarotti and half Frankie Howerd. You can find anything in Brighton – as Murray Goodwin nearly said yesterday.

11.35am: George Dobell at Worcestershire v Warwickshire

Geoff Miller, national selector, is here this morning. He cannot fail to have been impressed by Varun Chopra, who really is a most attractive batsman, and has produced some flowing drives and rasping cuts. Chopra is not the finished article - he sometimes fends to the slips and can look a bit ponderous in his foot movement - but he really does have a strong case to replace Andrew Strauss in the England Test team. Chopra’s Gooch-like backlift may interest a few bowlers, but it didn’t do Gooch too much harm. Or Brian Lara.

Worcestershire have taken the new ball. It produced an edge from Jim Troughton, on 46 off the reliable Alan Richardson, but Daryl Mitchell, in the slips, was unable to cling on. Troughton has just reached 50 for the sixth time in this Championship season. Two of those have been converted into centuries.

There are a few signs of uneven bounce now, too. Bearing in mind Worcestershire’s deficit - over 200 and growing fast - that will not fill them with joy.

11.20am: George Dobell at Worcestershire v Warwickshire

Morning from New Road.

There have been some obvious heroes in Warwickshire’s success this season: Varun Chopra, Chris Wright, Rikki Clarke, Chris Woakes and Keith Barker all spring to mind. Ashley Giles and Graeme Welch deserve plaudits, too.

But one of the architects of Warwickshire’s success is likely to remain largely unsung. Colin Povey, the club’s chief executive, will never be to everyone’s taste. Perhaps he is too abrasive; perhaps he just rubbed up too many people the wrong way in reforming a club that had grown a bit too cosy and self-serving for its own good.

But when Povey inherited the job, Warwickshire was in decline. The ground was dilapidated and the team, coached by Mark Greatbatch, was fragmenting. The future was far from certain.

Povey promised a redeveloped stadium and a team that consistently challenged for trophies. It has taken some time, but he has delivered on both those promises. In years to come, he may come to be revered at the club as highly as Leslie Deakins and RV Ryder.

11.05am: Ivo Tennant at Hampshire v Essex

Three quick wickets this morning for Reece Topley, the highly promising Essex bowler, who in days gone by would have had an England assessor, someone like Alan Knott, deerstalker, binoculars, sandwiches and all, watching him intently by the sightscreen. In fact there is a qualified observer of sorts here today: David Acfield, former Essex off spinner and chairman, now retired from business, and still an ardent fan. He has been spotted by the coach and called up to the balcony to give some words of advice. And, of course, he has the ear of his old colleague Graham Gooch.

11:05am: Vithushan Ehantharajah at Middlesex v Lancashire

Morning all – glorious day at Lord’s, as Middlesex resume on 389 for 6. Their aim going into the morning was to reach 450 runs and – as Neil Dexter put it – catch them unaware with a surprise declaration. Personally, I don’t think there are enough surprise declarations.

Unfortunately for Dexter, he won’t be in on the surprise – unless he decides to hide behind a door – as he nicks behind in the third over of the morning, giving Chapple his third wicket of the innings.

He falls on 125 but, as a zoot364 points out in the comments section of yesterday’s match report, credit should go to Gareth Berg, whose proactive 83 gave Dexter a bit of freedom at the other end.

Crook – who was dropped on 47 this morning, before passing fifty off 64 balls – is joined by Toby Roland-Jones. Or is it Toby-Roland Jones? If you say it enough it starts to sound like Toblerone Jones.

Horton this time holds on to a sharp chance from Crook, who departs for a useful 66. Ravi Patel comes into the fray.

10.55am: Les Smith at Yorkshire v Glamorgan

Geoff Miller deputed James Whitaker to come and cast his eye over Joe Root today. Unless Adam Lyth is also on the selectorial radar, Mr Whitaker might well be starting the car minutes after arriving because a Graham Wagg delivery has skidded into Root’s pads and he’s gone.

10.15am: Les Smith at Yorkshire v Glamorgan

Homer Simpson, walking past Moe’s Tavern, observed, apropos of nothing plot-wise, that 1974 was the year in which rock music reached its peak. He was right, of course, and driving down the A64 this morning under cirrus clouds and a 2/3 moon, listening to The Black Keys, it was like 1974 all over again, in a very good way. Pay attention, pop-pickers.

While playing air drums in the slow lane I was also trying unsuccessfully to recall who referred to whom as “the baby-faced assassin”. Can anyone help? Anyway, it won’t be long before someone uses the phrase to describe Joe Root, if it hasn’t been done already. Geoff Miller was here yesterday and it doesn’t take a genius to work out, with a vacancy in England’s top two, why. As it turned out, Root and Adam Lyth only had six overs to negotiate yesterday evening as they set about establishing a foundation for Yorkshire’s pursuit of Glamorgan’s first innings total of 272.

Yesterday’s wi-fi problem appears to have been resolved, at least for the time being, so we’re ready to rock on.

11.00am: Late on parade

10.30am, championship, in September. How could we ever have forgotten. Especially on the second day.

Warwickshire will win the championship if they get 350 and bowl out Worcestershire a second time. This and other stories from our top team of writers. We will leave you with them.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by capsules for weight loss on (January 26, 2013, 17:28 GMT)

trE2i3 I truly appreciate this post.Really thank you! Much obliged.

Posted by SanjayN on (September 5, 2012, 17:22 GMT)

Good to see Rikki Clarke bowling again after his abs injury, we need his all-round skills. Plan is to be at New Road 2morrow, hope it's a good day.

Posted by SanjayN on (September 5, 2012, 17:03 GMT)

The facebook/CB40 Final tics offer page isn't working - can anyone help?

Posted by Aussiesfalling on (September 5, 2012, 16:49 GMT)

Chris Nash looks to be batting well against Rehman, one of the best spinners in the world. A good response to Chopra's efforts earlier today. @David Hopps: Are there any selectors at Hove today?

Posted by Martin P on (September 5, 2012, 15:53 GMT)

Most important innings of Kent's season coming up - I worry if Key or Northeast are out early we will struggle to set a good total. Blake hasn't been up to it since replacing Harmison and Stevens isn't in sparkling form either. Might have to rely on Geraint again...

Posted by Samuel on (September 5, 2012, 13:34 GMT)

Don't really know what's gone wrong for Somerset in the second half of the season - we were well placed despite masses of injuries during the first half, and with players like Trescothick & Kirby to come back in, we could have had a crack at the title. I know we're missing Compton & Kieswetter, but our batting has consistently let us down over the past few games, odd considering it's supposed to be our strength. Could use a couple of new faces in before the start of next season I think, especially as our young batsmen don't really seem to be up to the task yet.

Posted by SanjayN on (September 5, 2012, 13:18 GMT)

@GeorgeD: No, they all start with "0844" :) It's not simple getting thru, just as well that I'll be walking to the Club Shop later this afternoon to buy my Neal Abberley Memorial Match.

BTW, with the goings on at Hove, if Worcs put up a rearguard in the 2nd inns, we could be going into the last game of the season with the title undecided, you never know! There's been a few games this season where the Bears have struggled to bowl out sides in the 2nd inns after bowling superbly in the 1st. This season, games against Lancs and Surrey at Edgbaston come to mind, and then there's the obvious one at Hampshire in the last game of the 2011 season. Hope I'm just unduly nervous.

Posted by Mathew on (September 5, 2012, 12:49 GMT)

Something that seems dubious to me is that teams are consistently getting bowled out for low scores at Bristol over the past couple of years, pitch inspectors go and look at the pitch and never seem to take action surely the low scores can't be consistently attributed to good bowling which is what I used to suspect when they had Lewis, Kirby and Hussain in Div 2 now they have an inexperienced young bowling attack with no superstars and still low scores result

Posted by Samuel on (September 5, 2012, 12:46 GMT)

@Mathew - if you look at the averages and strike-rates, you'll find Panesar didn't out-bowl Swann, quite the opposite in fact. Monty did fine against Pakistan's relatively weak batting but was found out once again by quality players of spin in Sri Lanka, as he always has been.

Posted by Samuel on (September 5, 2012, 12:39 GMT)

@Jon - for me, it depends on the balance of the side. If England want to play 2 spinners then they should go in with 5 bowlers (in my opinion anyway), in which case you replace Strauss with a bowler -Tredwell, Panesar, Bresnan, Woakes, whoever - and move Trott up to open, with Bell at 3 and any one of KP (situation dependent of course), Taylor or Bairstow at 4 and 5, with Prior coming in at 6 of course. If they go in with 4 bowlers, then they'd be loathe to move Trott from 3 after taking so long to find someone who was comfortable there and will bring in a new face. Trott also did open in Bangladesh remember and looked fairly uncomfortable doing so, although conditions and coming off a bad run in South Africa probably didn't help.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Hopps
David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.

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