Among the many sub-plots of this year's Ashes is a fast developing love-hate relationship between England fans and James Vince's cover drive. While it was the highlight of his 83 at the Gabba, it got him out in the second innings in Adelaide, after he had been dismissed edging a back-foot drive in the first. The two nicks mean Vince has now been out edging to the wicketkeeper or slips eight times in his last 10 innings and nine times in his 15-innings-long Test career.
Five times already Vince has been out edging while playing an attacking shot. Plus, he's been out twice caught at cover while driving against a spinner. So that makes it seven times he's been out playing an attacking shot to the off side.
It might seem like the solution is simple: Vince should just take the cover drive out of his game a la Tendulkar in Sydney, 2004. The problem is that it's by far his most productive shot. In his short Test career, Vince has scored nearly 37% of his runs through the cover region. By contrast, he has scored just 0.4% of his runs through mid-off, suggesting he doesn't drive straight much.
The dilemma of Vince and his cover drive has caused many much consternation, not least our ball-by-ball commentators, as evidenced by their increasingly shrill descriptions of his dismissals:
Shaminda Eranga to Vince, England v Sri Lanka, Headingley, 1st inns
More catching in the slips. Keeping it full pays dividends again, the ball straightens on Vince who is playing forcefully on the front foot and sends a thick edge to third slip.
Wahab Riaz to Vince, England v Pakistan, Lord's, 2nd inns
Pitched up outside off stump, Vince goes for the drive, thick-edged to second slip... and Younis holds on at the second attempt!
Mohammad Amir to Vince, England v Pakistan, Edgbaston, 2nd inns
Edged and caught! And just as I had been praising Vince for his watchfulness outside off, he's gone and fallen for the same old flaw! Outside off, a nothing flirt, offering catching practice to the tumbling Younis at second slip, and that is a very slow trudge from a batsman who has blown his best start yet.
Josh Hazlewood to Vince, Australia v England, Adelaide, 1st inns
Edged and gone! Regulation nick off, Vince's resistance wilts to his fourth ball of the day! There was no need to play at this, really - back of a length and rising in the channel, for some reason Vince felt compelled to try and force it away, but only succeeded in tickling through to the keeper. Loose and goosed
Starc to Vince, Australia v England, Adelaide, 2nd inns
Pitched up and nicked off! Vince is a goner... A familiar tale of briefly attractive (or should that be attractively brief) accumulation, before a loose stroke gives it away. This Australia attack don't need gifts, but they'll gladly accept them.