England v Pakistan, 4th npower Test, Lord's, 1st day August 26, 2010

Cook's good fortune and the Hill and Billy show

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Luck of the day
Alastair Cook's century in the Oval Test enabled him to turn a corner, in more ways than one. While the runs were clearly welcome, the change of fortune was arguably the most vital aspect of his innings, because his footwork visibly flourished after a trio of near-misses before he had reached 30. Today his luck continued its upward trajectory, with two key reprieves in the 12.3 overs available before the weather closed in. First, he edged his first legitimate delivery from Mohammad Amir at a perfect catchable height to Umar Akmal at third slip, who made a total hash of the opportunity. Then, with just 9 to his name, he successfully overturned a caught-behind appeal, again off Amir, as a full-length delivery seamed late past the edge.

Delivery of the day
Andrew Strauss could have done with a dollop of that good fortune. The skipper was subjected to something of a grilling on the eve of the match, as media attention shifted from the back-in-form Cook and settled instead on a man who hasn't made a Test hundred for 22 innings, dating back to his 161 on this ground against Australia last summer. Lord's is a venue at which he has scored four of his 18 hundreds, including a memorable matchwinning effort on debut in 2004, and in theory it was the perfect place to rediscover the good times. But having lost the toss under foreboding skies, he always looked on a hiding to nothing. Sure enough, Mohammad Asif snaked a superb legcutter back through the gate into his middle stump, as Strauss propped forward on 13, but found himself groping at thin air.

Hillbillies of the day
There wasn't much action to write home about at Lord's, but for umpires Tony Hill and Billy Bowden it was a day to remember nonetheless. "To be at Lord's and to create a little piece of history will be super-special," enthused Bowden. "The full impact of the occasion probably won't sink in for a while yet," remarked Hill. For the two men today became the first pair of neutral umpires from the same country to officiate in a Test at Lord's, a moment so notable that Cricket New Zealand was roused out of its off-season slumber to pass comment. "Billy and Tony are great role models for the next generation of umpires and we are extremely proud of them," said the chief executive, Justin Vaughan. "It is a worthy reflection on the work done in this country over many years by the New Zealand Umpires and Scorers Association, and is a very formal stamp of approval for the two men themselves." So there.

Light reading of the day
Perhaps it helps that Kiwis are used to battling with Antarctic conditions on their visits to Dunedin and Queenstown, but Hill and Bowden's most significant decision was to keep the players on the field in conditions reminiscent of their hometown Test in Auckland back in 2001-02 - the first occasion in which floodlights were used in the course of an England Test match. With the Lord's lights on, and thick cloud causing clear four-way shadows on the wicket (significantly clearer than was the case when play was suspended at The Oval last week) play pushed on regardless until the threat of rain finally drove them from the field. While the willingness to give the crowd their money's worth was, on the face of it, admirable, there were a few cynical whispers about the decision - most of them to do with the ECB's policy on refunds. By extending the day's play to 12.3 overs, they crossed the all-important 10-over threshold, and saved themselves a useful 50% pay-out.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY rabsusa on | August 27, 2010, 15:43 GMT

    Salman Butt has shown himself to be a totally incompetant captain, he should be replaced; he let England off, 100-7 has become 218 -7, why defensive feilds with only 1 or 2 slips with your best bowler on???Our club captain has more sense! He is very lucky he has a bowler like Amir who can take wickets at will , all that is needed now is for Amir to have conviction to tell his captain what field he wants - and before all you guys start blasting me, I m English!

  • POSTED BY on | August 27, 2010, 14:48 GMT

    I second this .... for now you can look at the full innings commentary and search for "drop" ...

    Posted by ramanujam_ram on (August 27 2010, 06:15 AM GMT) I would request Cricinfo to add seperate index for Dropped/missed chances in the commentary page (similar to 4s, 6s and wickets) especially for matches involving Pakistan. I find that to be the most interesting part of the match (Footages of Pakistan wicket keeper/slip cordon drop chances can be made part of fielding coaching manual - 100 different ways of how not to catch)

  • POSTED BY Divyesh.Modi on | August 27, 2010, 13:28 GMT

    Pakistan should find another keeper cum batsman!!!

  • POSTED BY AhmadSaleem on | August 27, 2010, 6:31 GMT

    @steelo_esq. I was talking about the most recent series b/w Pak and Aus which ended in a draw

  • POSTED BY on | August 27, 2010, 6:16 GMT

    akmals are in the team not on merit but on "sifarish". both are doing their best to lose matches.

  • POSTED BY ramanujam_ram on | August 27, 2010, 6:15 GMT

    I would request Cricinfo to add seperate index for Dropped/missed chances in the commentary page (similar to 4s, 6s and wickets) especially for matches involving Pakistan. I find that to be the most interesting part of the match (Footages of Pakistan wicket keeper/slip cordon drop chances can be made part of fielding coaching manual - 100 different ways of how not to catch)

  • POSTED BY on | August 27, 2010, 5:22 GMT

    GEO Akmals, you guys should be proud of your achievements....

  • POSTED BY steelo_esq on | August 27, 2010, 4:00 GMT

    Afraid to say AhmadSaleem but pakistan dropped a plethora of catches in australia. and whilst their bowling and batting has improved (particularly the bowling) they wont be a top test team and stringing together multiple wins in a row until they sort out the fielding side of their game.

  • POSTED BY on | August 27, 2010, 3:45 GMT

    @ LeftBrain: If Wasim and Waqar played a few games with Kamran they would throw him out and find someone else.. they didn't stand for this kind of stuff.

  • POSTED BY LeftBrain on | August 27, 2010, 0:47 GMT

    Umar Akmal dropped that catch already, and Butt and MoYo and Imran Farhat are yet to join the party, and dont forget the big brother Kamran who is due for a poor test after performing well for entire four days.

    Wonder what would be stats of Wasim and Waqar had they had Kamran as their keeper?

  • POSTED BY rabsusa on | August 27, 2010, 15:43 GMT

    Salman Butt has shown himself to be a totally incompetant captain, he should be replaced; he let England off, 100-7 has become 218 -7, why defensive feilds with only 1 or 2 slips with your best bowler on???Our club captain has more sense! He is very lucky he has a bowler like Amir who can take wickets at will , all that is needed now is for Amir to have conviction to tell his captain what field he wants - and before all you guys start blasting me, I m English!

  • POSTED BY on | August 27, 2010, 14:48 GMT

    I second this .... for now you can look at the full innings commentary and search for "drop" ...

    Posted by ramanujam_ram on (August 27 2010, 06:15 AM GMT) I would request Cricinfo to add seperate index for Dropped/missed chances in the commentary page (similar to 4s, 6s and wickets) especially for matches involving Pakistan. I find that to be the most interesting part of the match (Footages of Pakistan wicket keeper/slip cordon drop chances can be made part of fielding coaching manual - 100 different ways of how not to catch)

  • POSTED BY Divyesh.Modi on | August 27, 2010, 13:28 GMT

    Pakistan should find another keeper cum batsman!!!

  • POSTED BY AhmadSaleem on | August 27, 2010, 6:31 GMT

    @steelo_esq. I was talking about the most recent series b/w Pak and Aus which ended in a draw

  • POSTED BY on | August 27, 2010, 6:16 GMT

    akmals are in the team not on merit but on "sifarish". both are doing their best to lose matches.

  • POSTED BY ramanujam_ram on | August 27, 2010, 6:15 GMT

    I would request Cricinfo to add seperate index for Dropped/missed chances in the commentary page (similar to 4s, 6s and wickets) especially for matches involving Pakistan. I find that to be the most interesting part of the match (Footages of Pakistan wicket keeper/slip cordon drop chances can be made part of fielding coaching manual - 100 different ways of how not to catch)

  • POSTED BY on | August 27, 2010, 5:22 GMT

    GEO Akmals, you guys should be proud of your achievements....

  • POSTED BY steelo_esq on | August 27, 2010, 4:00 GMT

    Afraid to say AhmadSaleem but pakistan dropped a plethora of catches in australia. and whilst their bowling and batting has improved (particularly the bowling) they wont be a top test team and stringing together multiple wins in a row until they sort out the fielding side of their game.

  • POSTED BY on | August 27, 2010, 3:45 GMT

    @ LeftBrain: If Wasim and Waqar played a few games with Kamran they would throw him out and find someone else.. they didn't stand for this kind of stuff.

  • POSTED BY LeftBrain on | August 27, 2010, 0:47 GMT

    Umar Akmal dropped that catch already, and Butt and MoYo and Imran Farhat are yet to join the party, and dont forget the big brother Kamran who is due for a poor test after performing well for entire four days.

    Wonder what would be stats of Wasim and Waqar had they had Kamran as their keeper?

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2010, 20:57 GMT

    Umer Akmal kept up with his familys speciality. Between him and Kamran, Our bowlers have to get a batsman out leg before or Bowled like Wasim and Waqar. We cant even trust the skiers anymore because of Butts and Yusufs butterfingers.

  • POSTED BY AhmadSaleem on | August 26, 2010, 20:05 GMT

    @Faisal Mashood Afridi: Pakistan did not drop any catches against Australia earlier this summer. It was Australia who missed some chances in second test.

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2010, 18:33 GMT

    Surely the first use of floodlights in an England Test was during the tour of India earlier that winter; the Bangalore Test was entirely floodlit.

  • POSTED BY AhmadSaleem on | August 26, 2010, 16:56 GMT

    Now whats the forecast for tomorrow?

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2010, 16:54 GMT

    They keep dropping catches and then everyone thinks why isn't Pakistan a good test team. Today should have been at least 2-39 if not more with out of form Pieterson, the first 2 games had about 17 dropped chances from my count, the previous series against Australia had about half a dozen, the Australian test tour had at least 2 dozen, 7 from Kamran AKmal alone. Really if you keep dropping that many catches in Test cricket obviously you will suffer.

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2010, 15:32 GMT

    Hope Pakistan Win! Inshallah!

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  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2010, 15:32 GMT

    Hope Pakistan Win! Inshallah!

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2010, 16:54 GMT

    They keep dropping catches and then everyone thinks why isn't Pakistan a good test team. Today should have been at least 2-39 if not more with out of form Pieterson, the first 2 games had about 17 dropped chances from my count, the previous series against Australia had about half a dozen, the Australian test tour had at least 2 dozen, 7 from Kamran AKmal alone. Really if you keep dropping that many catches in Test cricket obviously you will suffer.

  • POSTED BY AhmadSaleem on | August 26, 2010, 16:56 GMT

    Now whats the forecast for tomorrow?

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2010, 18:33 GMT

    Surely the first use of floodlights in an England Test was during the tour of India earlier that winter; the Bangalore Test was entirely floodlit.

  • POSTED BY AhmadSaleem on | August 26, 2010, 20:05 GMT

    @Faisal Mashood Afridi: Pakistan did not drop any catches against Australia earlier this summer. It was Australia who missed some chances in second test.

  • POSTED BY on | August 26, 2010, 20:57 GMT

    Umer Akmal kept up with his familys speciality. Between him and Kamran, Our bowlers have to get a batsman out leg before or Bowled like Wasim and Waqar. We cant even trust the skiers anymore because of Butts and Yusufs butterfingers.

  • POSTED BY LeftBrain on | August 27, 2010, 0:47 GMT

    Umar Akmal dropped that catch already, and Butt and MoYo and Imran Farhat are yet to join the party, and dont forget the big brother Kamran who is due for a poor test after performing well for entire four days.

    Wonder what would be stats of Wasim and Waqar had they had Kamran as their keeper?

  • POSTED BY on | August 27, 2010, 3:45 GMT

    @ LeftBrain: If Wasim and Waqar played a few games with Kamran they would throw him out and find someone else.. they didn't stand for this kind of stuff.

  • POSTED BY steelo_esq on | August 27, 2010, 4:00 GMT

    Afraid to say AhmadSaleem but pakistan dropped a plethora of catches in australia. and whilst their bowling and batting has improved (particularly the bowling) they wont be a top test team and stringing together multiple wins in a row until they sort out the fielding side of their game.

  • POSTED BY on | August 27, 2010, 5:22 GMT

    GEO Akmals, you guys should be proud of your achievements....