21:55 – Settling in for the cricket! Coffee & fags – check. Sam asleep on the sofa – check. Right arm over the wicket. Play. The Barmy Army strikes up Jerusalem, and night watchman Finn ducks a bouncer first ball. He’s dropped in the slips off the last ball of the over. Good start, just what NZ needed!
Compton is at the other end. He’ll have to start all over again this morning. The ball is still new and there will be a little something in it for the bowlers. What I would like to see? Well, it would be interesting if Trott, KP & Bell were to fall quickly, leaving Compton to bat out the day with… Root. That would give the selectors food for thought! They seem to think it has to be one or the other, but I would keep them both in. Compton has done a good job on this tour, adapting well to Indian conditions; and Root clearly has tremendous talent. Don’t forget that he sent down five overs for eight runs at a time when Monty, Broad and even “wa Jimmy” were being tonked all over the park.
Meanwhile, Finn is enjoying himself. He looks very comfortable and he’s edged a couple of 4s. The bowlers will love that! Compton again impresses by the way he leaves: no exaggerated I’m-leaving-this-one flourish – his stance is very upright and he has a high backlift and he simply doesn’t move. I’ve noticed too that he makes a tiny sideways and back movement with his head just before the bowler’s delivery stride. Might that explain how he picks the length so quickly? Parallax?
The NZ stats wallah has come up with the interesting fact that Cook & Compton between them played and missed only thirteen times in the whole day. The nature of the pitch goes some way to explaining that, but it also speaks volumes about their application and England’s first innings 167 looks all the more unpardonable. Atherton said yesterday that they’d probably been “just a touch complacent”. (He also said, very quietly and with ominous simplicity, “It’s been a long time since Broad took a wicket in a Test match.” Broad then took three, but…)
That’s the end of the first hour. Only 30 runs scored but the night watchman is still there and he’s scored half of them. Time for some more coffee here.