England, 127-2 overnight, have a chance to press on with India a bowler down
The sun is out at Lord’s. The conditions are entirely at odds with yesterday’s cloudy, sultry atmosphere.
Maybe today will provide a more upbeat advert for the five-day game after yesterday’s absorbing but attritional play.
Simon Briggs produced a cute analogy in today’s Daily Telegraph. If Twenty20 is like a zoo, entertaining but you know what you’re going to see, then Test cricket is like going on safari. You might be unlucky and not see very much but when they arrive the rewards are exceptional.
Given the conditions and their fortune with the toss, India were poor yesterday. The official line on Zaheer Khan from the Indian management is that he will not bowl again in this innings but he is “likely to bowl in the second innings”. That seems optimistic but we will wait and see. India’s attack looks unthreatening without him.
There are rumours buzzing around Lord’s that Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been having a bowl in the nets and that Rahul Dravid has been warming up with the wicket-keeping gloves. Dhoni has the pads on initially but one presumes that they are preparing for a worst-case scenario. Three bowlers may yet be enough.
If England can retain their focus this morning then there ought to be runs to had as the day progresses, though there is rain forecast for later.
India may be the world’s No.1 Test side but England, and Lord’s, remain the spiritual and commercial home of the five-day format.
Lord’s confirmed yesterday that will host West Indies next summer after Cardiff were stripped of the Test because of financial difficulties. MCC have grand ambitions for this ground and they cannot afford to be passed over for the major matches that they have come to expect. Cardiff’s misadventure is a relief to Keith Bradshaw, MCC’s Aussie chief executive, and perhaps to the West Indies’ players who will now get to play a Test at Lord’s after all.
The ECB confirmed yesterday that the first two versions the new World Test Championship will be played in England in 2013 and 2017. The Championship will comprise two semi-finals and a final contested by the top four teams in the world rankings at the time.
Steve Waugh has been in town as part of MCC’s World Cricket Committee and their anti-corruption working party. His suggestion for players to undertake lie-detector tests has not gone down a storm. His former team-mate Tim May, chief executive of the international players’ union, has immediately dismissed it. It has a certain whiff of middle America about it but Waugh is to be congratulated for trying to tackle the issue of corruption head on because no one else is. It is becoming cricket’s phone-hacking, something that everyone knows goes but few are prepared to expose.
John Stern is a former editor of The Cricketer
Follow him on Twitter @Cricketer_John