The received wisdom is that you don’t get wickets in Test cricket with dibbly-dobbly medium-pace. This is actually entirely accurate – but only because nobody picks dibbly-dobbly medium-pacers for Tests.
The truth is that dibbly-dobbly is tough for Test batsmen. Their net bowlers are 85mph, their bowling machines are 85mph. They’re grooved. They expect a certain pace and length and when it’s not quite fast-medium and nor is it spin, they like to edge it.
Dasun Shanaka purveys dibbly-dobbly medium pace (you always ‘purvey’ that sort of bowling). He isn’t really a bowler. He has taken 26 first-class wickets in 31 matches. Nevertheless, at one point he had three wickets for one run. Alastair Cook was dibbled, Nick Compton was dobbled and Joe Root was, er, medium-paced out.
We were out for the James Vince and Ben Stokes bit and will have to catch up with that on the highlights, but after that Jonny Bairstow did some whoppery. Alex Hales also started playing ‘his natural game’ after first adopting a classical opener’s approach – something which seemed to come entirely naturally to him to these untutored eyes.
Then it rained and David Gower said that this was to be expected in spring – almost as if he has gained no insight into the spring/summer British climate despite 40 years of his professional life being greatly influenced by whether it rains or not.
Maybe they will play a bit more later on, but we have to go and buy a smoke alarm now.