Even without Ian Bell returning to the crease after being run out, yesterday was an odd day’s cricket. In what had seemed a low-scoring match, England somehow scored over 400 in a day. There were four reasons for this.
When the bowling was good, he was better. England’s most adaptable batsman just couldn’t stop scoring runs.
Eoin Morgan managed to squeeze in an entire innings of 70 while India weren’t really paying attention. It was utterly bizarre. As soon as they took the new ball and half switched on again, he was out.
When your bowlers are tired, there can’t be many batsmen you’d less like to see at the crease. Ian Bell’s England’s most adaptable batsmen, but Prior’s the most selfless. There’s something of the Flintoff attitude about him. He always seems like his eye’s on the Test match rather than his own score. Plenty of players say they’d choose a 90 that contributed to a win over a hundred in a losing cause, but Prior says the same thing with his bat and his running between the wickets.
Yesterday morning, a lead of 374 would have seemed ridiculously large, but the pitch has deadened a little and the ball is flying across the outfield as if the concept of friction has been discredited. A few quick wickets this morning and we’re not ruling out one of the all-time great run-chases.