BUMBLE AT THE TEST: England just couldn't find the outside edge

BUMBLE AT THE TEST: England just couldn’t find the outside edge on day three while Jimmy Anderson gets a rare standing ovation from Yorkshire crowd at Headingley

  • Bowling conditions were perfect and England could have had a hatful of wickets 
  • However, the hosts were unable to find the outside edge as they had done earlier
  • Jimmy Anderson received a rare standing ovation for a Lancastrian at Leeds 
  • Ball-tracking has baffled ex-pros and pundits throughout the third Test 

Bowling conditions were absolutely perfect, if slightly chilly, which may be significant. But the cloud was low, and the lights were on. On a different day, England could have had a hatful of wickets, with the ball repeatedly passing the outside edge. 

In fact, it was just like the first day, when the ball did take the edge. But you’ve got to admire the resolution of technique of India’s batsmen, who played the situation and got stuck in.

Bowling conditions were wonderful for England on Friday but they just couldn’t find the edge

A plane went over carrying a banner saying ‘Sack the ECB & save Test cricket.’ I found that quite bizarre, because every day is packed to the rafters. They’re queuing up to get in. You can’t get a ticket! To me, Test cricket in the UK seems in fine fettle. 

If you look back at epic Tests from over 30 years ago, grounds are half empty. The sign would have more impact if it said: ‘Justice for the four-day game. Don’t squeeze all the Championship matches to the margins of the season.’ Mind you, they’d have needed a twin-engine plane for that one…

A plane carrying an anti-ECB banner flew overhead at Headingley, which baffled me

I had a genuine shock coming past the railway station at 8am on a work day. I’d never seen so many people with hardly any clothes on. And then it dawned on that it’s the Leeds Festival up at Bramham, on the outskirts of the city. 

It’s like a northern Glastonbury. Headlining was the one and only Liam Gallagher, with supporting acts from Biffy Clyro and Wolf Alice. I can never get enough of Biffy and the Wolf.

When Jimmy Anderson walked to the crease 10 minutes into the day, I can genuinely say that is the first time I’ve seen a Lancastrian getting a standing ovation at Headingley.

I played here, and can clearly recall the reception I received. It generally went along the lines of: ‘Why don’t you **** off back over the M62, you big-nosed ****?’ And that was just from the steward on the gate.

Jimmy Anderson received a rare standing ovation for a Lancastrian at Headingley

Ball-tracking has surprised us all in this game. Take what looked like a plumb lbw against Rohit Sharma, when Joe Root ran out of time to review. In real time, it looked as if it hit his back leg quite high, but in fact it just clipped his front pad. 

Then when England appealed for lbw that went against Sharma, a commentary box full of ex-players all said ‘plumb’. And ball-tracking had it, with a coat of varnish, hitting leg stump.

Cheteshwar Pujara has had a lean time in this series, because England have done for him on and around off stump. But on Friday all the bowlers looked exasperated as they kept bowling leg side to him. It’s exactly where he wants it! 

Make no mistake: he’s a real sticker, and has taken over from Rahul Dravid in this team. But in this innings, he was positively flowing. Whether they were looking for extravagant swing or not, they lost their discipline.

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Cheteshwar Pujara has had a lean time of it this series but, make no mistake, he’s a real sticker

A friend popped in with three carrier bags of products from Bettys Café Tea Rooms. If you don’t know Bettys, you’ve never lived. Cakes, biscuits, scones, and the world-famous Fat Rascals.

Now there are plain fat rascals, and the ones in the picture, with chocolate in. But when I dropped a packet of Fat Rascals into the media box, to a man and woman the hacks asked: ‘How is former Sportsmail columnist Charlie Sale these days?’




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