38th over: New Zealand 116-1 (Conway 70, Young 34) Root continues, in flagrant disregard of the OBO’s wishes, and pays the price as Conway cuts a long hop for four. Young adds a late cut for two to bring up a very fine hundred partnership: 101 off 200 balls, proper Test creekit.
37th over: New Zealand 109-1 (Conway 65, Young 32) Yes, it’s Broad, making you wonder why they don’t just leave the bowling changes to the OBO – then Root could concentrate on his catching. Broad, so parsimonious this morning, lets us down a bit by offering some width and getting cut for four by Young. By the sixth ball, he’s himself again, almost nabbing Young with the nip-backer. Meanwhile, in the stands, the mass choir is back in full voice. This Test is going to be a good test of the theory about whether singing spreads infection.
36th over: New Zealand 105-1 (Conway 65, Young 28) Root produces a piece of filth, a half-volley outside leg, and Conway seizes on it with a sharp sweep for four. Then he on-drives and Olly Stone waves it through at mid-on, which is poor fielding but rough justice after Root dropped that straightforward chance off Stone.
35th over: New Zealand 97-1 (Conway 57, Young 28) Mark Wood continues, still giving his all and touching 90mph, and England have kept a lid on things with only 16 runs off the last ten overs. But, as Daniel said a while ago, it’s surely time for Broad. Double change maybe: Broad and Stone.
35th over: New Zealand 96-1 (Conway 56, Young 28) Thanks Daniel and afternoon everyone. This over is a maiden from Joe Root, who’s keeping it tight – but after their breezy morning, England have run into an immovable object called Dean Conway. Only one bowler has defeated him in the series: Ollie Robinson. Whatever happened to him?
34th over: New Zealand 96-1 (Conway 56, Young 28) Simon Doull shows us England’s batting averages and they’re not pretty, with the exception of Root 33 and below. He notes that Stones and Buttler are a little above that, but only a little; Nasser reckons the pitches are doing more than previously, citing Alastair Cook as his primary correspondent before apologising to the Bracey family. Ouch. Wood’s latest over goes for one, and I’ll now hand over to Tim de Lisle, who’ll coax you through the remainder of the day.
33rd over: New Zealand 95-1 (Conway 56, Young 27) But right as I type that, a bit of turn squares him up and he squirts the ball away right to where leg slip isn’t; add two to the total. So Root fills the gap – he can’t retrospectively take the catch, as it turns out – and also brings a man up on the sweep too, trying all he can to manufacture a wicket well aware that much more of this and his team are in trouble.
32nd over: New Zealand 92-1 (Conway 56, Young 24) Young whips off the hip for one, then Conway pulls a short one, his wrists doing a great job of controlling the shot so the ball does down not up; they run another, then Wood goes wide of the crease and Young again turns into the one side for a single. I’m really impressed by how he rode out an extended dicky period; he looks like he’s enjoying himself now.
31st over: New Zealand 89-1 (Conway 55, Young 22) There’s something in the pitch for Root, which makes you wonder why England omitted Leach; Nasser suggests that Jeetan Patel, who played for Warwickshire, must rate Root. His latest over goes for one, Young turning off the toes.
30th over: New Zealand 88-1 (Conway 55, Young 21) Wood is absolutely bousting in, in much better rhythm than earlier – though I’m a little surprised we’ve not seen Broad yet in this session. Conway turns his first delivery away for two on the on side, then wears a lift-ah on the thigh and this is a really good partnership now; as ever at Edgbaston, application results in runs.
29th over: New Zealand 86-1 (Conway 53, Young 21) Root finds some dip and turn, persuading Young to edge onto his pad, but the ball dies well before it reaches Burns at slip. Anyhow, that’s a maiden and also drinks, at which I daresay England will be disappointed – they’re just starting to increase the pressure again.
28th over: New Zealand 86-1 (Conway 53, Young 21) Wood returns, and what we see will probably tell us a fair bit about what we’re going to see. Mikey observes that when you bowl at his pace and the ball does nowt, you’re getting driven, so perhaps he should drag his length back, but his fourth delivery is extremely sharp, lifting, leaving Conway, and requiring a decent take from Bracey. He then beats Conway again, hurling one into the corridor, and that’s a big improvement from his first spell.
27th over: New Zealand 84-1 (Conway 51, Young 21) Root replaces Stone and Conway drives his second ball towards the cover fence which gives him another fifty; pretty easy, this Test match malarkey, the nomenclature must be ironic. A single follows, and he looks in perfect control.
“Earlier today on TMS,” says John Foster, “Dan Norcross went on a long and delightful riff likening the 80-over life of a cricket ball to the seven ages of man, and the appropriate bowlers for each ‘age’. His open question at the end was would it not perhaps make more sense to give the newborn to the outright pace men and then use the swing maestros when it’s reached its scruffy toddler phase? Seems to go against common practice, but what think ye?”
I see both sides – geddit? Ultimately, and unless you have MJ Hoggard and SP Jones, you want your best bowlers to have the shine. England’s are who they are, so what we see is what we see.
26th over: New Zealand 81-1 (Conway 48, Young 21) In commentary, Holding discusses the need to look after Mark Wood, referencing Steve Finn. He’ll be ecstatic to learn that I too think there was so much more he could’ve done had he been handled better, though it’s also worth mentioning the effect Graeme Smith and the bail-clipping had on his rhythm and confidence. Anyhow, England are going to need Wood this afternoon, because the batsmen are doing nicely now, Conway adding two more past slip.
25th over: New Zealand 81-1 (Conway 48, Young 21) Young is starting to bed in, getting right down the track to drive Stone for four before getting down the other end with a single to mid on. That post-lunch pressure is relieving now.
“Young James Bracey is a prime example of nominative determinism,” notes Andrew Benton. “A brace of Test-debut ducks! But behind the wicket he’s been pretty good by the looks of things – what’s the verdict in that department?”
I’m no expert but yes, he’s been tidy. The job’s not really about that these days, but it’s helpful and his batting is obviously better than we’ve seen. I’m not sure we’ll see him again this summer, but he’s got plenty of time to work things out.
24th over: New Zealand 76-1 (Conway 48, Young 16) A couple of overs ago I said that Conway was really good in front of the wicket on the off side, but he’s also really good behind the wicket on the off side, and eases away two while the crowd sing God Save the Queen. I trust none of them think politics and sport don’t mix.
23rd over: New Zealand 76-1 (Conway 46, Young 16) It’s clouding over now, and England are going to need all the help they can get in lozzing Conway. Holding can’t find a weakness, which means England are waiting for an error or a jaffa, not a great spot in which to be. And when they get him off strike, Will Young shows that Anything is Possible and presents the full face, earning four down the ground … then four more via soft-handed edge. New Zealand are gently assuming control here.
“Given Edgbaston’s bar prices, that beer snake is probably worth at least 25 grand,” laments Mysteron_Voice on Twitter.
I’ll be honest: I don’t get why you’d drink beer not wine or fizz at the cricket. Minimum effort and all that.
22nd over: New Zealand 64-1 (Conway 45, Young 7) Conway is so in touch with his game, and after playing three dots he plays a late glance to sends four scurrying away past the cordon. Anderson is bowling better now, but I don’t think it’ll be long before Broad is back/
21st over: New Zealand 60-1 (Conway 41, Young 7) Young has an airy twizzle at one that strays straight and they run two leg byes. This has been a good spell from Stone, but he could use a wicket, and he doesn’t get one during a further maiden, elongated while Young changes a boot.
“Time,” says Richard O’Hagan. “I can’t watch this. Shortly before the first episode I discovered that Sean Bean’s first name is actually Shaun and my world fell apart.”
Maybe he used to regularly infringe the rules while playing ice hockey.
20th over: New Zealand 58-1 (Conway 41, Young 7) Conway shoves a brace to cover – he’s so good at relieving pressure with off side drives – and there’s another, this time all the way to the fence. He looks a great example of a player picked for Tests punkt when ready.
19th over: New Zealand 52-1 (Conway 35, Young 7) While it’s on my mind, the latest entry to our OBO recommends spot is Time, currently on iPlayer. I’m actually struggling to watch it, so penetratingly upsetting and claustrophobic is it, but the writing and acting are top notch. Also, this week’s episode of the Real Housewives of New York is worth a look-in. Anyhow, Stone is really into this spell, not quite at 90 but not far from it, and Young can’t get him away. That’s a third straight maiden.
18th over: New Zealand 52-1 (Conway 35, Young 7) This has been a good start from England and as happened yesterday, the ball is moving more now than it did first up. Anderson slings down another maiden and pressure is building.
“Could it be that Broad works himself up so much on purpose, to give him more fire in the belly, pace in the action and cunning in the mind?” wonders John Starbuck? “I don’t think Joe Root told him to ‘Leave it Stuey’ did he? So he might recognise this condition too. Umpires, now, they do need to be tolerant of a certain amount of emotion.”
I’m not sure old Stu-stu needs to deliberately wind himself up but agree that he’s one of those who performs better on the edge rather than when relaxed, which is why he’s produced those ludicrous spells – against Australia at the Oval and Durham, for example – when they’ve been most urgently required.
17th over: New Zealand 52-1 (Conway 35, Young 7) Oh dear. A fine delivery from Stone, jagging back, persuades Young to edge – he more or less holds the bat waiting for it to clip the shoulder – and the ball flies straight to Root at one. He eases right at the bowler’s arm goes up, fumbles, cradles it on the second attempt, lets it slip, then misses it a third time. It’s kind of funny, but in the back of the mind lurks the disappointment that it wasn’t Broad bowling. Maiden.
16th over: New Zealand 52-1 (Conway 35, Young 7) It’s Anderson, who’ll see if he can find himself with a change of ends and the breeze in his favour. Well, Young dabs into the off side for one, then Conway hauls a pull around the corner for four and Anderson retrieves his cap muttering sweet nothings to the sacred art of white-line fever.
15th over: New Zealand 47-1 (Conway 31, Young 6) Conway is in absolute nick and quickly gets himself going again, clouting through cover-point for four. Those are the only runs off the over, and I wonder who we’ll see from the other end….
“In a perfect world England will look back at ‘that’ 5th day at Lord’s when Sibley scratches a double-century in Australia,” imagines Julian Menz. “We might also look back on the time NZ showed England the middle finger, chose a weakened team, refused to be ‘batting practice’, and won.”
Which will it be? It’s a real head-scratcher.
I also think it’s important to say that this moment is about a lot more than black excellence – it’s about justice and kindness for everyone. These days, we’re sometimes ok at treating exceptional minorities nicely, but still appalling at treating all minorities nicely, and people’s simple existence should be enough for us to meet that extremely low bar.
As you might expect, discussion during the first part of the break revolved around the catch that wasn’t. Consensus is that the umpire has enough to consider without being expected to form a definitive opinion about whether fingers slid between ball and turf, so the call should just be left to the third umpire. That makes sense to me, but for – yes, R v White, law fans – how much Broadfume we’d lose.
Thus endeth another gorgeous session of Test Match KrikkitTM. We’ll be back in 30 for more love, joy and Stuart Broad fume – the next hour will be crucial.
14th over: New Zealand 43-1 (Conway 27, Young 6) Conway lifts his back leg to clip two to leg, Pietersen-style, then pulls a further single which gives Broad two goes at Young. A few overs ago he looked not long for this innings, but he’s settled a little and plays out two dots to trot off, wicket intact. That is lunch.
13th over: New Zealand 40-1 (Conway 24, Young 6) They will not – Wood is thanked, and Stone has the ball. Given how this mini-sesh has gone for two of England’s attack, there’s a chance for him to get some work if he can find a groove, but after Conway takes a single he strays into the pads and Young gleefully tucks in, twizzling four through square leg and megging the umpire in the process. Ok, the umpire dummies, but more importantly a substantial beer snake is already slithering about the Hollies and we’ve got one more over of Broad before lunch.
12th over: New Zealand 35-1 (Conway 23, Young 2) But what we were really waiting for was another over from Broad, who might just squeeze in one more after this before lunch. Dracarys, etc. Conway bunts a single to cover, then Broad jags one back into Young and begins an appeal before processing the inside edge; he and the crowd will be willing Wood to get through quickly.
11th over: New Zealand 34-1 (Conway 22, Young 2) Young gets away with a clip off the pads for two, the only runs off a much better over from Wood.
“Oh the irony,” emails Adam Roberts. “The Edgbaston crowd booing a batsman for not walking. They do realise it’s Stuart Broad bowling, do they?”
I don’t think they were booing that, they were booing not getting what they wanted in the manner of all sporting crowds, and they’ll now thcream and thcream until they’re thick.
10th over: New Zealand 32-1 (Conway 22, Young 0) Yeah, Crawley might’ve got fingers underneath that but you just can’t tell. It always looks like it’s hit the ground because fingers are flat affairs and I wonder how many calls have been overturned – can’t be many.
REVIEW! Conway is not out!
I think that’s the right call but ultimately it’s all about the soft signal because had that been out I think it’d have stayed out.
The soft signal is not out, which amuses Broad every bit as much as you’d hope and expect. He slaps his thigh, kisses the umpire, and chuckles away to the non-striker. I don’t think this out.
10th over: New Zealand 32-1 (Conway 22, Young 0) Broad will be ganting on getting Young on strike , but he’s got Conway, who edges his first delivery to Crawley at third slip! There’s an appeal….
9th over: New Zealand 32-1 (Conway 22, Young 0) Interesting! I thought Anderson might’ve kept at it but he’s not been as threatening as usual this morning, so a burst of Wood before lunch makes sense – that feels like good captaincy from Joe Root. However. Wood’s loosener is wide and Conway bangs it through point for two, then carts another to the cover fence – he’s in absolutely perfect touch … so doesn’t miss out when another wide one allows him to square-drive four more. The ball’s not doing much, so when you’re seeing it as he is you’re set; in a bid to combat that, Wood moves to around, and second go, Conway nearly drags on! But when it’s going for you it’s going for you, so they run one then two leg byes, making for 13 off the over.
8th over: New Zealand 19-1 (Conway 7, Young 0) Broad’s getting the knees and arms going – we’re one wicket, or one rejected appeal, or one incorrect review away from flames coming from the nostrils. Yes, or the simple passage of time. He’s bowling beautifully now, and his third delivery is absolutely monstrous, back of a length and screeching past Young’s outside edge on the rise. Pressure is building and England are legging through at change of over because they can sense an opportunity.
7th over: New Zealand 19-1 (Conway 7, Young 0) On the balcony, Ross Taylor limbers up, but in the middle Conway glides Anderson through cover for four; that’s a lovely shot, trigger movement going with the outswing to initiate a lovely, flowing drive. Anderson looks extremely displeased, still muttering and head-shaking after the next delivery – which had more pop on it as you’d expect. The sun is out now, and it’s getting warm out there – this is terrific stuff.
6th over: New Zealand 15-1 (Conway 7, Young 0) Young, playing his third Test, is in next in the absence of Williamson. The crowd are right into this now, Broad urging them on to urge him on; man, I’m going to miss him sometime in the 2040s when he finally hangs up his celebrappeal. He’s running in beautifully now – who knew that he should bowl fuller? What a revelation!
WICKET! Latham lbw b Broad 6 (New Zealand 15-1)
Broad goes fuller, there’s movement off the seam, and he clouts Latham punkt in front; Latham appeals to Conway for a reprieve but he’s quickly sent on his way because that is absolutely dead.
5th over: New Zealand 14-0 (Latham 6, Conway 7) Anderson is also ensconced, looking to go across Conway before trying a wobble-seamer that’s defended well. The final delivery yields a leg bye off the hip, the only run off the over which makes for a second straight maiden.
“Today is nice and straightforward,” emails Matt Dony. “Tomorrow is where the cognitive dissonance comes in. I’ll be simultaneously supporting England at cricket and Wales at football. Doesn’t quite feel right, somehow. (Yes, I know it’s the ‘England and Wales Cricket Board’, but there’s not been a whole lot of Welsh representation recently. I am currently available for selection, though, should they want to address the issue.)”
I’d enjoy today if I were you!
4th over: New Zealand 13-0 (Latham 6, Conway 7) If you’ll excuse the namedrop, KP once told me that before England played South Africa once, they were going through the opposing batsmen working out how to get them out, and when they came to Kallis, the best they could do was say he was a run out candidate early in his innings. This reminded me of that, but Broad looks settled now and sends down a maiden.
REVIEW! Conway is not out.
He was paying attention, so turned, grounded his bad, and slid it in. Well done him.
4th over: New Zealand 13-0 (Latham 6, Conway 7) Now then! Latham drives hard down the ground, shatters the stumps … and did Broad impart finger? Was Conway out of his ground? Broad thinks so! You’ll be shocked to hear! Upstairs we go!
3rd over: New Zealand 13-0 (Latham 6, Conway 7) Latham sees one from Anderson – it’s not a bad ball, but he picks it up so quickly that he merely proffers the bat, enough to send it back down the ground for four. This is a decent start – both batsmen look confident and comfortable – and a further single, nudged off the hip, is the only further news.
2nd over: New Zealand 8-0 (Latham 1, Conway 7) Stuart Broad could do with something here but, going around to Conway, he’s clipped off the legs for four, then again for two more. He finds his line thereafter and four dots follow.
Meanwhile, the equally heroic Nick Wiltshire points out that TMS are, finally, telling us where to find them – the key is to look for the words “TMS overseas”.
1st over: New Zealand 2-0 (Latham 1, Conway 1) Anderson opens with a wide outswinger, and another – there’s movement through the air, but the line isn’t quite right. Next ball is straighter … but too straight, nudged off the hip for one as the crowd sing Jerusalem and applaud themselves, before Joe Root applauds them applauding themselves. It’s a lovely moment, then Conway bumps a single to get himself away.
The heroic Harry Coleman sends in the overseas TMS link:
“Sadly, the only place that Crawley will be making runs for Kent will be in second XI cricket,” reminds Simon Thomas, “as there is no red ball stuff for county cricket for a few weeks. It’s only the middle of summer, so can’t be doing with that Championship stuff.”
Interesting point: when is the middle of summer? Or is it just whenever we have a few days of clement weather?
“Just wanting to check on behalf of all of us – OBO will be covering the India v NZ final I hope?” wonders Pete Salmon. “And if so, what’s the feeling among the OBO crowd about who we are supporting, so we can continue to predict batting collapses, get exasperated at loose shots, and wonder about such things team selections, bowler’s lengths and foolish decisions at the coin toss. And who are our cult figures? I mean I know the answer is New Zealand, but I think we need to start parsing that position.”
Yup, we’ll be on that. Our cult figure is Stuart Broad.