This pitch and this match are being slagged off by many people, but we’ve found it compelling because it’s been so alien. It hasn’t been a match that’s been great to watch, but it has been fascinating to follow because cricketers are so rarely tested in such conditions. As a result of that, it’s been very hard to predict what’s going to happen and unpredictability is the lifeblood of sport.
Normally when a pitch is flat, it’s possible to score runs, but this has been something entirely different. It’s been like some quasi-religious exercise in patience and restraint. The players’ emotions and impulses have changed more rapidly than the score. It’s been a trial by status quo.
It’s not been a trial by Status Quo, you understand. Francis Rossi hasn’t been handing down judgments regarding Ian Bell’s use of the feet – although he doubtless has plenty of interesting things to say on the matter. It also seems likely that he’d identify with a bunch of men achieving a lot through near endless repetion of the three things they’ve found to work.
Speaking of work, it’s also been like that. Always good to see how professional sportsmen cope with the grinding monotony that constitutes life for the rest of us.