11.49pm EST 23:49 24th over: New Zealand 65-2 ( Williamson 30, Taylor 13) Stokes grabs the ball, and immediately makes something happen, striking Williamson right in the guts, tummy button area. Williamson gasps. A maiden. Abhijato Sensarma has been admiring Williamson from afar. “Williamson blossomed as a public figure during the World Cup. We all
24th over: New Zealand 65-2 ( Williamson 30, Taylor 13) Stokes grabs the ball, and immediately makes something happen, striking Williamson right in the guts, tummy button area. Williamson gasps. A maiden.
Abhijato Sensarma has been admiring Williamson from afar. “Williamson blossomed as a public figure during the World Cup. We all knew he was a class batsman, but the mature and witty way in which he handled the press conferences both during and after the event showed what a great man he is. Humility is intrinsic to his behaviour, and he deserves every bit of success he’s got along the way. Here’s a link to a fantastic interview of his at the Oxford Union which everyone – cricket fan or not – should listen to! (Controversial note: I think his beard is better than Kohli’s.)
Thanks Abhijato, I’ll watch that later.
23nd over: New Zealand 65-2 ( Williamson 30, Taylor 13) Taylor comes out of his shell to pull Curran dirtily for four. And the sun pops out again.
22nd over: New Zealand 59-2 ( Williamson 30, Taylor 8) Time for some Stuart Broad. Dot-to-dot, bar a scribble where Williamson pulls him square lazily.
Zaph Mann is back: Through the medium of Aldred “Brian – of course I know that, it was in the initial days – the first adopters were often boorish boasters. Still relevant – why do a corporate advert with your every message?”
Shall we lay this one to rest?
21st over: New Zealand 55-2 ( Williamson 26, Taylor 8) A fat wide from Curran. I got it wrong, by the way, it is Curran Chameleon the Barmy army are singing and singing and singing and singing… At least no-one is trapped on public transport with them, like I was with United and Villa fans yesterday. I wouldn’t object so much if it was more tuneful. Yours, disgusted of Tunbridge Wells.
I don’t think so. There’s no need for New Zealand to risk it. Surely England couldn’t be bowled out on this pitch in less than a day? Impossible, no?
20th over: New Zealand 49-2 ( Williamson 25, Taylor 4) Archer resumes, after clutching his knee in his last over. Root has his arms folded, but looks pretty happy – it’s been a good match for him. Williamson eases the ball through extra-cover for a couple. Karma Chameleon comes on the PA, and the sun has disappeared.
19th over: New Zealand 45-2 ( Williamson 22, Taylor 3) It’s gone all bromantic out there. Stuart Broad puts his hands on Sam Curran’s shoulders – there must been a good 8 inch height gap – and then Ben Stokes does the same to Jofra Archer. Curran has Williamson ducking again, elegantly, though not quite as elegantly as before. A maiden.
18th over: New Zealand 45-2 ( Williamson 22, Taylor 3) Oh, that’s the best moment of cricket of (my part of) the day: a hot potato from Archer, fired in short, and Williamson bends back further, further, further till he’s on his knees, his back horizontal to the ground, and the ball whisks past his helmet. Honestly, it’s wonderful. That is grade 8 flexibility.
Another email! Thank you Ian Forth. Talking of bragging, in the early ‘90s where I worked people still sent out all-agency house notes when they were going on holiday. Most people just said “I’ll be away from the 7th till the 21st” or whatever. Apart from one group of people. They insisted on letting the world know “I will be skiing from the 7th till the 21st”. Then bored you to death with tales of cheese fondue and chalet hi-jinks on their return.
A cheese fondue would be nice, right now.
17th over: New Zealand 43-2 ( Williamson 21, Taylor 3) Williamson is perfecting his leave here. Either he’s very, very good at it, or that was a touch risky as Woakes fired one a tooth-comb’s distance away from off-stump. Another excellent over.
Filter-coffee leftovers are certainly a good source of protein for plants, taps Ian Copestake so as far as watering a plant with coffee you are literally on good grounds.
Boom-boom! Thanks Ian. And that’s DRINKS.
16th over: New Zealand 43-2 ( Williamson 21, Taylor 3) The ball is rubbed repeatedly on Archer’s right thigh. He ambles back, and liquids in. He fires a nasty shot one into Williamson, which Williamson ducks into and it hits him near the elbow, just where the protection ain’t. The commentators want to see more revs on the speedometre.
15th over: New Zealand 42-2 ( Williamson 20, Taylor 3) This:
14th over: New Zealand 41-2 ( Williamson 19, Taylor 3) Another good over, this time from Archer. The ball spits unpredictably off the pitch. Williamson loses temporary control of his mindfulness , then guides him away through, you know, his favourite area, for four.
Hi Tanya, writes Brian Withington..
At the risk of disillusioning trend-setting Zaph, I don’t think there’s necessarily any bragging involved in the ‘Sent from my iPhone message’ – I believe it’s a default setting. Talking of default settings, has Kane Williamson always been such a ridiculously good batsman?
That’s quite a segue Brian.
13th over: New Zealand 36-2 ( Williamson 14, Taylor 3) Chris Woakes toys with Ross Taylor, sending the cotton reel this way, sending the cotton reel that way. Taylor is tempted. An excellent maiden.
12th over: New Zealand 36-2 ( Williamson 14, Taylor 3) Williamson is up on his toes, trying to deal with Archer, then cramped by one that skids through. Perhaps this pitch is thinking about becoming two-paced, which won’t please the New Zealand batsmen one bit.
Ah, more good vibes for Jeet Raval.
11th over: New Zealand 33-2 ( Williamson 14, Taylor 1) Just a single off an on-message Woakes.
A messages ping in about Jeet Raval.
“Not sure I’m entirely comfortable with the commentators making light of anxiety and mental side of the game, writes Sachin Paul. A couple of overs ago , Ian Smith mentioned how Raval’s scrambled mind was irrelevant and how he had one job and that was to open the batting and to not know that he had hit the ball was shocking/inexcusable. From where I’m sitting , Raval was anchors even before the innings started and is in a bad place mentally and should be left alone else it’ll be a Trott like situation.”
10th over: New Zealand 32-2 ( Williamson 14, Taylor 0) The heavyweights are at the crease. Williamson spoils what would have been a maiden from Archer by speeding him through cover for four.
9th over: New Zealand 28-2 ( Williamson 10) It’s a double change, as Broad is sent down to chew the cud and the bristle-bearded Woakes takes over, with immediate effect.
Do cactus plants like cold coffee? I guess I’ll find out.
WICKET! Latham c Root b Woakes 18
Another good catch by Root and New Zealand are in a bit of a hole here! A bit of extra bounce from Woakes, a bit of width, and Latham obliges with a push forward and an edge.
8th over: New Zealand 28-1 (Latham 18, Williamson 10) It’s Jofra time! Two long sleeves on today. He sends a couple of deliveries down before handing the ball to the umpire with a question mark. It is delivered back with a full stop. The wind ruffles Archer’s trousers. Williamson watches carefully – one squirts through quite low, then he lets the rest past harmlessly. Speed in the 130-135kph bracket.
Hah! writes Zaph “I put the ‘sent from my Commodore in my email signature years ago when I first received ‘sent from my iPhone’, to take the piss out of the braggers. It started a mini trend – I’ve had replies with ‘Sent from my Maytag” and “Sent from my Commode”
7th over: New Zealand 26-1 (Latham 18, Williamson 8) Stuart Broad has summoned a man in short sleeves carrying a giant iron hammer. He thwacks into the surface to try and even out the footmarks. “More” roars Broad, and points to the other side of the stumps. Latham flicks him off his pads, head over hands, rather nicely for four. Then Ben Stokes dives full throttle to stop a square drive from Latham.
6th over: New Zealand 18-1 (Latham 10, Williamson 8) There’s a few clouds floating about thoughtfully but the weather should hold for the rest of the day – another 30 or so overs left. A quiet over from Curran, five stolen runs.
James Fitzpatrick is still awake, over the Irish sea. “It is amazing how the moon reflecting off windshields can be mistaken for Jack Frost, and warm cumulus mist for freezing fog, as we bask in mid night Julyesque temperatures. Shorts for me tomorrow.
My point. Short one really. Today may be great for Root, but it is a disaster for England long term. He’ll be kept on now simply because of what he can do with the bat, but there is a lot more to being a captain than scoring runs. He is the proverbial summer swallow, always hinting at more, but arriving way too early and with few mates to make a difference. It is a plaster on a gaping wound, will it work, crossing everything you have and hoping, praying, maybe, but in reality England will not win a foreign tour without addressing the thorny issue of Captain, and what to do with Joe. He played great today and yesterday all the same, some batsman.
5th over: New Zealand 13-1 (Latham 6, Williamson 6) Broad is slightly stooped as his runs in, as befits his father of the house status, then straightens up in the crease. Root has two slips and two gullies for Williamson, who is the king of watchful waiting.
4th over: New Zealand 12-1 (Latham 6, Williamson 6) Curran again, five dots, carefully played by Williamson, then he prods him through the covers for a couple.
3rd over: New Zealand 10-1 (Latham 6, Williamson 4) Broad on the money, though Latham brusquely sends one to the cover boundary.
An email from Avitaj Mitra:
Must say I love Neil Wagner running in to bowl. Me too! He pretty much personifies the word “wholehearted”.About England’s chances to win.. yay or nay in your opinion?
My un-educated guess is that the pitch will prevent a last-gasp victory dash.
2nd over: New Zealand 5-1 (Latham 1, Williamson 4) Oh my, the replays seem to show that Raval did get an edge onto his pad. Quite a large one. His confidence is obviously so shot that he didn’t trust himself to judge. My days. Anyway. Williamson angles his bat and sends the ball on its merry familiar route down to the third man boundary.
WICKET! Raval lbw Curran 0
Another bad day at the office for Raval, pushes forward second ball, absolutely plum. No stay of execution from his partner and off he trudges.
1st over: New Zealand 1-0 (Latham 1, Raval 0) I don’t want to sound too rock n roll, but I missed the first few balls of this innings after mislaying my hot water bottle. Settle down in time to see New Zealand go for a ridiculously optimistic single, the ball went to Zak Crawley at midwicket who threw. An inch more accurate and Raval would have been out without needing the help of the third ump.
Hello Tanya, writes Zaph Mann. In case you missed the morning Bumble was talking about the game “Owzat!”, I had the as a kid but found 1) there were too many wickets and 2) You couldn’t get away with playing during school classes.
I invented a better game – where every letter of the alphabet equalled some occurrence in cricket – i.e.: common vowels (a, e, i) were one run, less frequent letters counted for more runs and infrequent letters brought chances of wickets (depending upon the following letter in the complex version)
Advantage – you put the cheat sheet on a bookmark, start ‘studying’ (going letter by letter) and appear to be taking motes (doing the scorecard). – playable during class…
Zaph, that sounds brilliant. I never really played, but my brothers did and kids do. I’ll pass your message on. But I’m almost more intrigued by the sign off on your email: Sent from my Commodore .
I don’t think I’ve seen a commodore since the 1980s when a school friend whose dad worked in computing invited me over to play Mini Munch man.
England grab a first-innings lead of 101
After Daniel oversaw a wicket-less first half of the day, I’ve watched England lose 5-21 in half a session without even moving my lips. A wonderful innings by Root, a solid to good one by Pope. Five wickets for Wagner, carved in sweat and gurning. The players take tea, with England ahead of the game, but the weather dubious for tomorrow. Let’s see what Archer and Broad can cook up with the new ball.
Gosh, I’ve just seen the Craig McMillain get-up on Sky that was mentioned earlier – he’s come as Dick van Dyke.
WICKET! Broad b Wagner 0
Broad misses a straight one, a three ball run-less cameo.
WICKET! Archer b Wagner 8
The ball after stacking his legs apart and posting Wagner for a huge six over the fence, Archer drags a full slower ball back onto his stumps. Great double bluff by the world’s busiest bowler.
162nd over: England 468-8 (Archer 1, Curran 6) Curran eyes up Southee and slaps him with an old frying pan through the covers for four. They slide through for a couple of singles and the lead edges up to 95.
161st over: England 464-8 (Archer 1, Curran 6) Wagner runs in again. Archer does a bit of housework, brushing flakes of dust away from the crease, before greeting the ball with a defensive prod.
Is Pope the answer to England’s middle order prayers? asks OB Jato.
I reckon so, starting low down the order and moving up. I saw him scores a brilliant century at Guildford in 2018 against Somerset. Luckily for him, selector Ed Smith was sculling around too.
160th over: England 463-8 (Archer 0, Curran 3) A pause, while England regain some
breath. Three singles.
Good morning again Tanya
Oh Brian Withington, I’ve been waiting for too long.
Well Atherton was right on the money and I got my wish for Joe Root to go very big. Been a cracking weekend after West Ham’s improbable win at Chelsea with a third choice debutant keeper, and then my son’s 10 man Worcester team getting through to the last 32 in the FA Vase after extra time – five rounds down, four left to Wembley. (And said son scored his first of the season.) Happy days. Time for Curran to have some fun.
Well done Withington junior!
159th over: England 460-8 (Archer 0, Curran 3)Wagner steams in, slightly angled approach from the right of my television. Imagine a stepping stone path, with Wagner pushing stones further and further into the soil with each steaming step. Archer lets his two balls pass safely by. The England lead is 85.
WICKET! Woakes c Watling b Wagner 0
Woakes fancies a bit of a swish, half bends the knee, throws the bat and edges behind to Watling. Bish, bash, boosh, England are tumbling away. That was the third wicket to fall for 5 runs, in 12 balls.
158th over: England 459-7 (Woakes 0, Curran 2) We watch Root trudge off, a hint of a smile on his face. As there should be. That has bought him time, if time is what he wants.
WICKET! Root c Nicholls b Santner 226
And the great redemption song comes to an end. Root dances down the wicket and slaps the ball to deep extra cover to give Santner his first wicket of the game. Williamson and others chase after him to shake his hand as he walks off.
157th over: England 457-6 (Root 222, Curran 0) Well played Ollie Pope. Still staggered by the unselfishness of that shot – self-sacrifice might seem a good idea on paper, but it is a very different thing to actually carry out. It was his highest Test score in a partnership of 193 with Root.
WICKET! Pope c Raval b Wagner 75
Pope gives it some welly as, seemingly, instructed. He tries to pull a wide one from Wagner and is caught out in the deep. That was a very unselfish shot, just 25 short of his century.
156th over: England 450-5 (Root 221, Pope 74) Pope and Root scurry between the wickets, pushing here, tipping there. Perhaps they’ll give themselves till tea. Can Pope squeeze the other 26 runs he needs?
Meanwhile, Ian Forth throws a scrap down from his statistical bed, “If Root can get to 228, he’ll have the third highest score for an English test batsman against New Zealand. He’ll struggle to crack the top two though – Hammond and Edrich both scored triple tons.”
155th over: England 445-5 (Root 218, Pope 72) I think there was something in that there water at drinks. First Root slaps the ball straight into Wagner’s leg. Then Pope has a huge slog, baseball style straight down the ground for four, then an upper-cut. Frisky.
154th over: England 437-5 (Root 215, Pope 67) Thanks Daniel for safely guiding Root to his double-century and Pope to fifty, and a big hello to everyone else. Santner sends one gently past Pope’s edge and he gets all-in-a-fix momentarily, but survives.
The advertising panel next to the OBO is offering me a facelift in a bottle, which seems a bit harsh – it is 1.51am (GMT) after all. Don’t expect miracles.
153rd over: England 435-5 (Root 214, Pope 66) Wagner returns for another spell of self-flagellation and Root splices a mow that drops just short of the sliding Williamson, who ends up on top of the ball. They run one, and I wonder if we’ll see him get close to a triple century; it’s certainly going for him, because after Pope adds a single, another inside edge takes the ball close to the stumps before Watling parries it just wide of the helmet. They run two, and that was an exceedingly odd over bowled.
Right, that’s drinks, and Tanya Aldred is here to coax you through to the end of the day.
152nd over: England 431-5 (Root 211, Pope 65) It’s good of England to put some overs into the NZ bowlers’ legs before they go to Australia later this month. Santner comes back on, and Pope, who’s scoring more easily now, takes one to leg before Root does likewise to long off.
151st over: England 429-5 (Root 210, Pope 64) Here we go! Root gets a leading edge to Henry’s first ball that drops just short of him, then caresses a gorgeous straight six back over the bowler’s heed. Two singles follow, and the lead is now 54, but it’s worth remembering that rain is expected tomorrow afternoon so they’ll be better getting NZ in sooner rather than later, even if it means they need to thrash 80 runs at some point.
150th over: England 421-5 (Root 203, Pope 63) Root’s highest Test score is 254, which he got against Pakistan in 2016; there’s no reason to think he won’t pass that today. He gets two closer by clipping Mitchell’s first ball off his pads then, after a single, Pope murders a wide slower ball for four. He loves that shot square of the wicket, though I’d even have backed myself to give that the treatment, so miserable was it.
“Please wish James Debens the best of the season, with my Holiday Songs XI,” says Mac Millings.
The Holly and the IVA Richards
Once in Rahul Dravid’s City
Nagamootoo They Know It’s Christmas?
Here We Come a-WesHalling
Harbhajan the Herald Angels Singh
All I Want For Christmas Bishoo
Imran Chanukah, Oh Chanukah
I Have a Derek Randall
God Rest You, Terry Alderman
Goodwin Benson Vaas Cook Grout, Hondo Priest of Steve Finn.”
149th over: England 414-5 (Root 200, Pope 59) The field comes in to deny Root an easy single, and when he bangs a drive to cover, Santner dives to field. AND THERE IT IS! CLASS IS PERMANENT! Root defends a corner into the ground, sets off on a boust, and Pope hurls himself to the strikers’ end … direct hit and he’s gawn, but the throw misses! What an innings this has been! The two batsmen embrace in the middle, then chuckle at the run out that wasn’t between overs.
148th over: England 413-5 (Root 199, Pope 59) Pope thrashes a single to deep cover – he’s picked out the fielders a lot today, but he’s finding the middle of the bat nicely. Root then takes another single off his pads – he’s now one away from some red hot base 10 action; the nervous 190s have been negotiated with ease and speed. Pope then drives two to long off, and Root will have strike at the start of the next over.
147th over: England 409-5 (Root 198, Pope 56) Pope keeps ticking along – two singles to him from this latest Henry over, Henry having replaced Southee – and one to Root.
146th over: England 406-5 (Root 197, Pope 54) Mitchell returns and Root, caught on the crease, immediately administers the thick inside edge; for the second time today, the ball only just passes the stumps. the run two, which raises England’s 400, and the next delivery is the 400th he’s faced. He’s getting close to what’d be his third Test double ton, and two more to midwicket take him to 193 before an expert’s dab to the third man fence adds another four. Root is now one of England’s top 10 run scorers, as noted by Michael Meagher. “He’ll surely finish his career no worse than second on that list,” he says.
145th over: England 398-5 (Root 189, Pope 54) Root cuts behind square and Mitchell parries, so they run two, then he deflects a single to leg.
144th over: England 395-5 (Root 186, Pope 54) In lopes Santner, as threatening as a pair of rubber y-fronts, and England add five more singles. Surely they’ll want 45 minutes or so to have at NZ this evening, so need to get a wriggle on.
143rd over: England 390-5 (Root 183, Pope 52) Bumble is properly talking about Bairstow as a potential England Test opener. I’ve not clue, really I do not – his mentality and technique seem so ill-suited to that role. Five off this latest Southee over.
“A friendly rebuttal from Kolkata,” says Abhijato Sensarma. “ood morning to Mr Banerjee! I live in Kolkata myself, and can account for the atmosphere he misses. Cricket is something everyone has some knowledge of in the city. It can be a means of bonding with anyone from a new schoolmate to one’s boss at the office to any random soul you meet in a bus … The city breathes sports, which people often find as a means of escape, and an opportunity to be a part of something much grander then themselves. The OBO community has been a wonderful place for a cricket fanatic like me too. The warmth in its coverage and correspondence is one of the best things about following the sport. A heartfelt thanks to all involved in it!”
142nd over: England 385-5 (Root 181, Pope 49) Pope gets another run close with a cut to deep point – he likes that shot a lot. Root then nearly feathers a catch to backward point, takes a single to cover, and there it is! Pope bangs a drive to point, it’s fumbled, and he eases through – well batted you mortifyingly young and accomplished individual who already knows joy I will never comprehend.
141st over: England 383-5 (Root 180, Pope 48) But he almost rinses himself, pinned on the crease by Southee and under-edging just past the stumps, before playing four more dots and turning one to midwicket. England are on the charge!
140th over: England 382-5 (Root 180, Pope 47) Santner keeps going – I wonder if they’ll try getting after him. Root takes one to point and Pope does likewise to cover. I daresay he’ll free his arms if he can nurdle just three more.
“There’ll be no Return of the Mac, Millings!” says James Debens.
“The Saw DRS
CWC ChinMusic Factory
The Black Cap Crowes
Sweet Scyld O’ Mine
Electric Lightmeter Orchestra
The Barrington Knights
The Jazz Sanga
Queens of the Stone Agar
Fine Leg Cannibals
Manic Sweep Preachers
139th over: England 380-5 (Root 179, Pope 46) Southee has the ball and begins with a leg-side sighter, after which Root takes one to cover and the commentators snigger at a bloke minding his own business enjoying an ice cream. Hilarious.
“Did you realise when you referred to shmondery it is now the only reference in an English article to the word in Google,” emails Carl Jepson. “The other five references appear to be in Russian. Was that a bet amongst the OBO team. If so, well played sir.”
I daresay I’m the only one of our number interested in such, but I also looked it up to check the spelling and was surprised there was no other reference to it. “Boust” is another word I think exists nowhere but in the OBO – it means to travel extremely quickly and usually recklessly, but only in very select areas of mid-90s north London.