Behold the rich tapestry of emotions when Stuart Broad dropped yet another catch off Jimmy Anderson but then ran the batsman out

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If England’s 2020 Test summer is remembered for anything, it will not be for the return of BBC highlights, Ben Stokes doing absolutely everything against the West Indies or the bizarre sights and sounds of matches played without crowds. No, if England’s 2020 Test summer is remembered for anything it will be for when Stuart Broad dropped an absolute dolly off Jimmy Anderson and then ran the batsman out.

There was an awful lot going on here. An awful, awful lot.

Let’s set the scene

Jimmy Anderson was on four wickets for the innings and 597 Test wickets overall when suddenly his team-mates started dropping every single chance he created.

First Rory Burns managed to make this not be a catch.

Instead of being a wicket, the ball went for four.

Wholly unfazed, Anderson promptly created another chance later the same over.

Sadly, Zak Crawley was for some reason unable to suction the ball to his kneecap and the chance again went down.

Jimmy has seen some pretty incredible drops off his bowling before now and he is famously phlegmatic about this kind of thing.

Here is a lovely shot of Crawley looking up to see Jimmy midway through an ABSOLUTE MASTERCLASS of shrugging off minor frustrations and not letting your emotions show.

Enthusiasm undimmed, Jimmy created yet another chance in his very next over.

This one, it has to be said, was an absolute piece of piss.

Enter Stuart Broad

The ball gently lobbed to Broad at mid-on at almost precisely the same speed and parabola that the ball travels to him about 90 times a day before he’s about to run in and bowl.

If there was any catch you’d expect Stuart Broad to take, it was this one.

But Stuart Broad is not like other people.

Broad’s innate predisposition towards making any situation weirder and more remarkable led him to skip into the air and cross his legs in a kind of Riverdance move while trying to catch the ball with his wrists.

Needless to say, Stuart Broad did not take the catch.

So at this moment Anderson has seen three drops off his bowling inside two overs. This is, by any stretch, ‘quite annoying’.

Compounding this is the nature of the previous wicket to fall.

This is Jos Buttler successfully taking a catch to secure that wicket off the bowling of Broad.

What we can take from this is that catching was not impossible. It seems that catches – indeed quite remarkable catches – could in fact be taken by England fielders. It was just that they for some reason couldn’t be taken off the bowling of James Anderson.

What happened next was the best bit though. After failing to take the catch, Broad did two very wonderful things in quick succession.

Firstly, while still in the process of not catching, he did this kind of frustrated/exasperated hand gesture at the ball, as if it was the ball’s fault.

Then after that, he ran after the ball, picked it up and furiously knocked out middle stump.

Mohammad Abbas was run out by about a zillion miles.

What’s so especially magnificently brilliant about this is that everyone sort of has to pretend like, okay, Broad made amends for the terrible drop because the team still got a wicket and they didn’t concede any runs, so basically it all balances out.

But it doesn’t balance out, does it? Set aside the fact that a different batsman is out – a tail-ender and not a guy on a hundred-and-oldd – if the scorecard ends up the same for the team, Jimmy Anderson’s bowling figures look very different indeed.

Jimmy should have had 5-55 at this point, but in fact he still had 4-55.

And it’s not only that. The sheer volume of chances he was creating, Jimmy could quite legitimately have considered this not merely a wicket he failed to get, but a wicket actively stolen from him.

He surely would have picked up Pakistan’s final two wickets before too long. But now there was only one wicket left for him to get.

So technically the team’s done well out of this delivery and you’re supposed to be playing for the team, but… come on…

This is how Jimmy celebrated the run-out.

One of the all-time great wicket celebrations, we’re sure you’ll agree.

But it’s not just Jimmy. Think about how everyone else was feeling.

Broad’s embarrassed and ashamed and guilty, but also very, very pleased with himself for the run-out. That’s a lot to be grappling with simultaneously.

The rest of the team are also in a weird position. They’re doing well, they’re winning the match – yet the man who’s been doing far more than anyone else to put them in that position is basically enraged with all of them because they’re being completely incompetent. What kind of emotion is that? Sheepish elation?

Inevitably, Jimmy took the final wicket.

Here is how he looked at his team-mates after Dom Sibley caught the ball in the slips.

We didn’t know there could be a look that said, “Seriously? About fucking time.” But then we saw this and it turns out there is such a look and it isn’t even remotely vague or hard to interpret.

Has anyone ever been more pissed off about taking five wickets in an innings?

Magnificent stuff. Well done everyone.


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17 comments

  1. It seems those people who suggested a couple of weeks ago that Jimmy should be dropped have been interpreted literally by the England fielders.

    For some reason the BBC highlights didn’t spend anywhere near as long on this, clearly it’s part of some sinister agenda.

  2. Definitely the best moment of the summer, but it is being pushed hard right now by Dom Sibley bowling. This is Chris Martin-esque, but the opposite way round. And it is equally joyful.

  3. Has anyone reading this got 600 of anything?

    I was thinking about it and I don’t think I do, unless we count individual grains of rice or something like that.

    I imagine Ged has 600 cricket-watching anecdotes…

    1. I possibly do have 600 cricket-watching anecdotes in me, but Ogblog is only up to 280 pieces tagged cricket, which is a long way short of 600. But Jimmy is 17 years into his test cricket career, whereas I am only four-and-a-bit years into my Oglog career. I would hope to have reached 600 cricket-related Ogblog pieces by the year 2033, if I can keep my writing career (or even continue breathing) that long.

      In terms of sporting numbers, I think the closest I have managed to 600 is a remarkable 533 at fridge ball one famous night in 1974:

      http://ianlouisharris.com/1974/12/04/a-marathon-day-of-court-sport-fives-and-fridge-ball-4-december-1974/

      But talking of numbers with sixes and zeros in them; I did manage to get thrashed 6-0, 6-0, 6-0, 6-1 at tennis this afternoon. By a 15 year old…who has apparently gone through some sort of incredible hulk transformation during lockdown, accentuated by a school kid’s availability to play most days since the Middlesex University real tennis court reopened. The pros assessment after witnessing some of the carnage: “you did well to get that one game”.

      1. We discussed this earlier in the actual pub and it resulted in a protracted and lively debate about “CDs per inch”.

        So basically if you’ve got eight foot of CDs, how many is that?

        You think it’s nowhere near 600 initially, but what about singles? And then factor in cardboard cases? Could be close.

      1. Before launching into a detailed and evidence-based answer to KC’s delicious “music items per inch” pub theory/question, I would just like to say how much I enjoyed the “rich tapestry” piece, which most of us have ignored in these comments.

        I absolutely loved the piece and chortled so much that Daisy asked what i was chortling about. When i showed her the piece, she chortled too and also said she loved it.

        My father used that “rich tapestry of life” metaphor a lot; normally in situations where I did not appreciate being told that the thing I didn’t want to do or the setback that was vexing me was simply part of life’s rich tapestry. But I appreciate the guidance in retrospect and always think of my dad, fondly, when I hear the phrase.

        Right, let’s get down to “CDs per inch” business. Your comment came at just the right time, KC, as I am visiting my music collection this morning – a rare visit in these unprecedented times.

        I have 360 CDs, which would take up almost exactly 168 inches (14 feet) of end-to-end space if all placed end-to-end. That is just over 23 feet per 600 CDs. If we only take into account the contemporary music ones (some 140 are classical/baroque/medieval) then we are talking 220 CDs taking up 84 inches or 7 feet. That is still c19 feet for 600 such CDs.

        But what about a collection that is mostly “singles and cardboard sleeves”, I hear you cry. Well, I can’t help you there with CDs, but my LP collection (almost all cardboard sleeves) comprises just under 650 LPs and it takes up 102 inches (eight-and-a-half feet), which is wicked close to “eight foot of LPs is approximately 600 of the darned things”.

        Conclusion: your 8 foot of space per 600 music artefacts works for LPs, singles, single CDs and CDs in cardboard sleeves, but foes not work for CDs in plastic CD cases, which need two-and-a-half to three times as much space.

        My fee note is in the post.

      2. When you say Tl;DR, are you referring to your piece, my comment or my fee note? 😉

        Please assure Prince Prefab (I’m guessing he was the other party to the pub chat) that the CD collection and the LP collection used for my extensive research both include examples of “Sprout”.

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