Rain sets in to frustrate England and full house
Tea: Fourth Test, day one, The Oval
Match score: England 75-0 (Strauss 38*, Cook 34*)
Session score: Rain
We were probably lucky to get as much cricket as we did in the morning such was the apocalyptic weather forecast.
By 4pm, as the third wave of rain swept in many punters could be seen heading for the exits. That the big screen was showing an interview with Alastair Cook at precisely the same time as the mass exodus was, of course, purely coincidental.
Even with a desperate over-rate, the Indian bowlers completed just enough overs to ensure there are no refunds for the patient spectators. They bowled 26 (one more than the 25-over cut-off) in a session punctuated by inevitable stoppages for people moving behind the bowler’s arm and Andrew Strauss being hit on the helmet.
On days like this trivial pieces of information take on undeserved importance. Sky showed footage of Alec Stewart appearing to be refused entry to his beloved Oval though Surrey insist merely that stewards have been instructed to be thorough in their checking of identity passes. It was unclear whether this stand-off took place at the gate at the Vauxhall end of the ground which bears his name. If it was, then we could have an Alec Stewart Gate-gate.
Team India manage information about as efficiently as they manage the fitness of their players and it turns out that Praveen Kumar (or Mr Praveen Kumar as he is referred to in the press release) is absent because an ankle injury, sustained bowling at Edgbaston, rather than the hurt thumb we originally took to be the cause.
Meanwhile, fans of England and India alike can chortle at the leakage from down under this afternoon by the tireless Malcolm Conn, formerly of The Australian and now of the Sydney Daily Telegraph, who reveals that the Australian selector Greg Chappell was banned from the dressing room because, according to one player, “he drove us all mad”.
This snippet forms part of the report into the state of Aussie cricket by former mining and banking boss Don Argus which has just been presented to the Cricket Australia.
John Stern is a former editor of The Cricketer
Follow him on Twitter @Cricketer_John