You may have noticed that we didn’t complain about the pitch after day one. That’s something we only allow ourself to do once both teams have batted. Sadly, this policy appears to have been vindicated.
Sometimes it’s not a dead pitch. Sometimes it’s merely in a deep, deep sleep and one of the teams doesn’t have the bowlers to wake it. A shriek from a leg-spinner or a rumble from a truly fast bowler and it stirs, yawns, rubs its eyes and shoos Gary Ballance back to the pavilion.
Perhaps there was a clue for England in how Stuart Broad bowled, which is to say excellently. It’s not like there was uniform helplessness. Weary legs and brains were then confronted by Armitcheddon – the thoroughbred Starc and the untamed stallion Johnson. Also Mitch Hazlewood. (That’s his name, right?) These three often bowled so full that the pitch was basically an irrelevance, but they seemed to get something out of it at other times too.
Counterattacking and playing liberated cricket are tougher things to do when you’re 520 behind and already four wickets down, but Ben Stokes is a game lad, so he’s having a go.