If you like certainty and clarity, two-innings cricket is not for you. The format presents you with details and only backs this up with context once the match has finished. Half the joy is in dissecting goings-on in order to try and shape that context in your mind’s eye as the match develops.
Unpredictable events demand constant revision of the picture you are constructing. Some people – idiots – hate this. They like to be told what’s happening in black and white terms. They deal in absolutes because they can’t work things out for themselves. Other people have the innate self confidence to cope with being wrong. They make predictions but they take more delight in the unexpected.
Flat cap cricket
Yorkshire, powered by Joe Root, are proving a joy this year. Last week, they were bowled out for 177 and then Durham declared four wickets down in their second innings, setting a victory target of 336. Yorkshire got there with Root making 182.
This week, they conceded 475 to Chesney Hughes and Derbyshire and then promptly made 677-7 in reply (Root 236, Jonny Bairstow 186). A draw in the offing? No. They bowled Derbyshire out for 163 with the solidly-named Jack Brooks taking 5-40.
You certainly can’t criticise Chesney Hughes, but it’s worth pointing out that he made 15 in the second innings and his team lost. First-class cricket isn’t just about the numbers – it’s about the situations as well. Thus far, Yorkshire are proving to be a team capable of winning in unusual ways. They have coped with difficult situations well, which tends to indicate that they are a rounded team. Things generally don’t go exactly to plan in first-class cricket, so you need to cover as many eventualities as you can. It’s also fascinating to follow for those of us who are happier wrong than right.