People often say that having Ben Stokes in the team gives England a fourth seamer. That’s not right. Having Ben Stokes in the team gives England a spinner, because apparently they still pick four seamers even when he’s not playing.
This was the first Test cricket at Lord’s for a couple of years, so everyone made doubly certain to ramp up the Lord’s bullshit. (We should probably skip following the morning of day one in future, it aggravates us so much.)
Before the match, Kane Williamson was asked that classic and inevitable leading question, “What makes Lord’s so special?”
Resisting the temptation to smother it with a brutally soft-handed, “It isn’t,” Williamson instead opted for the only acceptable answer: “The lunches.” (Although Lord’s even manages to make that annoying by making out like we’re all on the edges of our seats waiting to read what food we aren’t actually going to be eating.)
With the cricket not immediately dramatic, the commentators also paid regular homage to the ground. Even our old friend Rob Key made an appreciative reference to “the Lord’s hum.”
Do you know what the Lord’s hum is, Rob? It’s the sound of lots of captains of industry not really paying attention to cricket. You can tell because it’s at its most pronounced at the start of the afternoon session when the members are variously asleep or mumbling their way through a half-cut monologue about the current state of “the markets”.
It’s just a cricket ground!
A cricket ground at which you will see quite a lot of right-arm seam bowling.
You should always play a spinner. It’s not just that bringing on a spinner changes the rhythm, which can result in a wicket; it’s that taking that spinner off again also changes the rhythm, which can result in a wicket. Sure, you can get that just as easily with a part-timer, but captains rarely bowl part-timers as much as they’d bowl a specialist. That’s why we call them part-timers.
It ended up a fairly chastening day for England’s seamers. More so for one than the others.