Nick Compton’s back

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< 1 minute read
Photo by Sarah Ansell
Photo by Sarah Ansell

As in ‘returned’. He hasn’t got ankylosing spondylitis or anything. If anything, he appears entirely unaffected by spinal ailments, awaiting each delivery with a relaxed upright stance.

We got plenty of opportunities to see this as Compton stuck around for over six hours, doing his level best to ensure he was overshadowed by a series of batting partners before finally emerging as top scorer in England’s first innings of the series.

In the long-running and largely-incomprehensible Nick Compton fridge/freezer analogy, this probably equates to passing the sniff test. We can now tuck in and eat the entire series, reasonably confident that this won’t result in food poisoning.


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  1. This innings was an extremely valuable one but its defining feature seemed to be its length, which given it was an 85, is hard not to feel a little cold about. Compton came in while the best fast bowler in the world was smashing the top order and he got through that challenge. Then when the ball got soft, the bowlers tired and the sun came out he was still batting in exactly the same way.

    Being a grinder isn’t a problem, it’s grinding at such a rate that you don’t appear to be particularly good at grinding. Graeme Swann on TMS made a comparison to Jonathan Trott who when he was playing well would be very cautious and one-paced, but that pace would be faster than it looked because he would constantly be trying to get off strike. He didn’t play many attacking shots but always played the worked on-side nudge for one whenever possible. Compton doesn’t have that shot, and so even after facing 150 balls he’s still facing down maidens when Trotts, Rogerses and Kirstens would be building partnerships.

    At 32 it’s unlikely that this side of Compton’s game will be improved, and it’s not unreasonable to consider him a limited player that the national side wanted to do better than.

    1. I don’t think the statistics bear this theory out. South Africa bowled 19 maidens in the innings, and Compton faced eight of them. Considering he faced about 40% of the balls bowled in the first innings, that’s about what you’d expect. But on the first day, he only faced four maidens. One of those was the fifth over of the day, two more were when South Africa’s strategy was to bowl a part-timer and try to tempt him into a rash shot. The fourth was a good over from Piedt. Compton also scored the lowest proportion of his runs from boundaries of any England player who scored runs.

      I mean, nobody’s ever said he doesn’t have his limitations as a player, but then, so does just about every cricketer who isn’t AB de Villiers. And Compton just scored more runs than anyone else in the England team against a very good bowling attack that had conditions in their favor. Yes, if you bowl in the right areas against him consistently, you can greatly slow the scoring rate. That’s what Steyn and Abbott did very well on the second morning. But test cricket is firstly and secondly about wickets and runs, and Compton generally does well at scoring runs without losing his wicket. And England certainly needed the 85 runs he scored in that innings.

      1. With the greatest respect, I think you asked for it, your majesty, by using phrases such as “stuck around for over six hours” and “top scorer in England’s first innings”.

        Had you restrained yourself, as usual, to obscure similes and analogies about food and white goods, none of this would have happened.

        I’m writing your error off as an anomaly, caused by the excessive consumption of cold turkey, roast taters and sprouts which had been retained in a refrigerator of uneven temperature, caused by the storage of far too much food in far too little space for far too long.

  2. The problem with the sniff test, is that even if it’s passed it causes a lingering sense of doubt as to whether the food can really be at it’s best if a sniff test is needed. This sense of uncertainty generally means it’s difficult to really settle in and enjoy the meal as much as if we hadn’t felt the need for a sniff test at all.

  3. It’s not the smell test because if he failed the smell test he’d get thrown away, and even the selectors at their most capricious would let him have a bat in the second innings before discarding him.

    I think this is really the peek-inside-the-box-to-confirm-the-thing-inside-the-box-is-still-the-thing-what-we-thought-it-were stage, without the close-up inspection that reveals what state it’s in. So far we have discovered that it is indeed Nick Compton, not someone else in fancy dress (except possibly Trotty), and no flatmate has surreptitiously swapped the contents of the box with the leftovers of their last meal and binned what we had in there before.

    1. Ah, thank you Bailout, I’m starting to feel at home again around here now.

      The earlier comments were starting to weird me out. (Which, given that I am starting from a pretty high base of weirdness, is a worrying thing).

  4. Quote of the day from Alison Mitchell on TMS: “Moeen pulls out of his run-up. I think that was due to an untimely gust of wind.”

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