When was the worst moment to tune in on the day England were 58 all out?

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Ben Stokes (via Sky Sports video)

England were 58 all out today and New Zealand didn’t even have to stoop to a bowling change. Being as play largely took place during the UK night, England supporters will have first seen the score at all sorts of different points, depending on bedtime, alarm time and bladder size.

When was the worst moment to start following events?

0-0 in England’s innings

There’s a case for saying that those who were there from the beginning got it worst. We disagree. Even though it occurred at hellish pace, seeing a collapse unfold gives more time to come to terms with what’s happening. There’s greatly reduced shock value.


This probably gets our vote. At 18-3, the score is already bad enough to provide an unhelpfllu sleep-denying burst of adrenaline in the middle of the night. You would then have seen the score become 18-4 and then 18-5 and then 18-6.

Six wickets is a lot of wickets, while 18 runs is very few runs. 18 is the score at which the situation officially moved from ‘gravely troubling’ to ‘hugely disastrous’.

58 all out

A horrifying score, but yet you’ve missed the light relief of Craig Overton’s forlorn late sally and now have to endure the protracted drip-drip erosion of hope via Kane Williamson’s bat. This is not a good moment at which to tune in.

123-3 in New Zealand’s innings (England 58 all out)

We just felt like we should include a mid-New Zealand innings option. This seemed the best/worst. At 123-3 and England 58 all out, the situation is already full-on dogshit and there will be precisely nothing else to cheer for the whole of the rest of the night/day.

175-3 in New Zealand’s innings (England 58 all out)

The full and complete horror, all in one go.


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  1. After your recent piece, I tuned in excited to see TGNW in action and was hugely disappointed. I will be cancelling my subscription henceforth.

    1. You can’t deny that New Zealand bowled well As A Unit, though, Mike, and TGNW is part of that unit, so in a way, didn’t you witness a great performance from TGNW….?

  2. I was struggling to articulate how I feel about this.

    Your phrase, “full-on dogshit” has done the business for me (as it were).

    I wasn’t 100% sure that dogshit is really one word when I read your piece, but on reflection I’m certain that it should be.

  3. I actually did tune in at 18 for something and it was indeed disappointing.

    Part of the disappointment related to the possibility the next few minutes might be history in the making – England claiming the prize of lowest Test score in history, against the side who had previously had that fate inflicted upon them (by England as it happened).

    With seven wickets down there was a real sense of anticipation. This could be a once in a lifetime experience. In the final analysis it was just another very crappy English score, but I have experienced several of those before, as well as low scores inflicted on the opposition, so the overwhelming feeling was of unfulfillment really.

    Where’s the shock and awe in merely flirting with the all-time records, and in the end not getting all that close? Ashton Agar and Tino Best have provided more gut-wrenching moments for me in the never-going-to-experience-this-again stakes. Here England didn’t even end up close to delivering despite considerable potential.

  4. I tuned in at about the 123-3 (58ao) option. My first thought was ‘Blimey, the Kiwis are really grinding out this first innings’. Then the commentators mentioned the English total and I got confused and sad.

  5. Stat Attack!

    Number of test innings in which the last wicket stand exceeded the combined previous nine – One.

    Record Breakers! If you want to be the best, and if you want to beat the rest, dedication’s what you need. So hearty and fulsome congratulations to Overton and Anderson who have SMASHED the record for the highest percentage of a full innings score contributed by the last wicket with their 53%. Already this will require New Zealand’s last pair to score 201 to beat that, and that’s if England take six-for-none tomorrow morning.

    So there you are, the darkest cloud and all that.

    1. ‘Jimmy Anderson batting records’ is a potential regular feature I would heartily enjoy

  6. It was 23-6 (then 7, then 8) when I turned it on.

    I find it more funny than anything. And nostalgic. Feels like Trinidad 1994. I was young then.

    1. This was exactly when I turned it on as well. Thought it was starting at 10 p.m., headed over to Cricinfo at 9:43 to check the teams, looked at the scoreline, thought momentarily that it was showing that the game was set to start June 23, then realized what was going on and turned it on just in time for that seventh wicket to fall.

  7. Satan is at the door. He’s offering us a proposal.

    ‘Lose every Test match for the next 15 months and win the World Cup. Or win every Test, become number one Test team, but exit the World Cup at the group stage.’

    Deal or no deal?

    1. How can we answer deal or no deal when he’s giving us two options? How will he know which deal?

    2. If that’s my only choice, screw the World Cup. But sport is a bit dull if all the results are known ahead of time.

    3. These things usually involve handing over souls of some kind. Can we get him to deal with Giles Clarke instead? Removes that particular worry.

    4. I had Satan at my door the other evening. He was canvassing for the Conservatives.

      I gave him a piece of my mind through the intercom/entry phone thingie for quite some time.

      He then said, “we’ll here I am on your doorstep wanting to discuss these things with you. Will you let me in so we can talk about it?”

      “No”, I said, putting the entryphone down.

      My soul remains intact but I have no idea what deal Satan was going to propose to me. Given that it is local elections coming up, I suspect he was planning on offering me some deal in respect to the removal of my garbage.

      But I digress.

  8. If you thought England had a bad day, spare a thought for Zimbabwe. Hosting the World Cup Qualies ought to have given them home advantage and all they had to do was beat the already eliminated UAE today, a side with no wins in the Super Sixes. In a rain-affected match they lost by three runs.

    In another rain-affected game yesterday, Scotland’s five-run loss against the Windies saw them lose the chance to qualify (and knock the Windies out). So but for 10 runs in two rain-affected matches, the identities of the world cup qualifiers would have been completely different. Each of those results could have been switched by a single shot (or a single umpiring decision, in the absence of DRS, as the Scottish supporters will be fast to point out). On margins this fine, which side makes it through seems essentially random – so the idea of a ten-team world cup with four Test nations taking part in a qualifying tournament only two teams can escape from, as some way of making sure only the “big boys” get through and there’ll be no uncompetitive match-ups with the small fry, seems ever more ridiculous.

    In the meantime, Afghanistan and Ireland will now face off for the remaining place that Zimbabwe missed out on in an all-to-play-for rubber that had looked yesterday like it would be a dead one. Have the sneaking suspicion Afghanistan are going to absolutely monster it. In the first round they lost their first three matches to Scotland (7 wickets), Zimbabwe (2 runs) and Hong Kong (30 runs, HK’s first-ever win against a full ICC member), before winning their final group game against Nepal by 6 wickets. They then needed Nepal to beat Hong Kong to set up a tie for third place in the group that they headed by NRR – which was duly obliged.

    With their only victory against eliminated Nepal, they brought nul points to the Super Sixes but have won both their matches so far against the West Indies (3 wickets) and UAE (5 wickets). They needed UAE to do them a favour against Zimbabwe for their final match against Ireland to be meaningful… now that it is, I get the feeling Fate is passing them a message.

    1. I agree with much (most) but not all of your analysis, Bail-out.

      I have long advocated that there should be a reasonably high-profile pre-tournament for the lesser/associate nations to qualify for the World Cup and this tournament has pretty much done the business for the first time.

      I don’t think the closeness of the results and the resulting agony/ecstasy for the losers/winners is randomness – I think that is competitive sport doing what it does best – pitting reasonably well-matched competitors against each other to make exciting sport for players and spectators alike.

      I feel sorry for Scotland, but frankly they did incredibly well getting that close. If their biggest worry about “no cigar” is (as reported on Cricinfo) that they really could do with the £700K they were hoping for by qualifying – then surely the ECB/ICC can and should do more for associate nations. That is a small sum in the grander scheme of things when you think how much money the sport generates now.

      I also feel sorry for the Zims, but frankly I also think a world cup slot will do a lot more for the development of the sport in Afghanistan or Ireland than it would for the sport in Zimbabwe just now.

      My heart says Ireland and I’d love to see them play in the tournament when it is hosted here next year…

      …but my head says Afghanistan for a variety of reasons, not least those quoted by Bail-out.

      1. My position on randomness is that it is an essential part of the enjoyment of live sport – if sport were entirely deterministic, if the “best” team won all the time, who would watch it? “The best team in these conditions on that day” might change from match to match, but even then Lady Luck often intervenes.

        The winners of a World Cup are invariably deserving but if we were to rewind and replay World Cups of yore then we would see different teams winning the same tournament (and I suspect in several cases the team that won a greater proportion of replays, the one with the intrinsically higher probability of winning, wouldn’t coincide with the actual victor in our timeline). So I do accept that picking out the “best” team is a bit of a lottery, even at a WC tournament explicitly designed to do so, and that even this isn’t a bad thing. Certainly far more fun than getting all the teams together every four years just so an announcer can declare who is currently top of the tree in the official ICC rankings and award them their gold medals without a match being played – a process which would probably be more efficient at ensuring the objectively better team win.

        My problem with the qualifiers is that they are supposedly there to select the best participants for the main competition, to screen out mismatches there, and the absence of TV cameras for much of the tournament indicates that it wasn’t intended to be a publicity-raising festival of sport. But its selection of “best” teams in a closely fought contest has been unusually random and haphazard while it has produced some great sporting moments that have gone largely unnoticed.

        I do understand that there are logistic advantages to playing the qualifying tournament out well in advance – not least for the benefit of travelling supporters. But in terms of showpiecing some great live sport and raising awareness in some lands where cricket is still developing, I wonder if this should have been cobbled into the main tournament as a preliminary round. This would also have eliminated the unfair home advantage for Zimbabwe and selected, possibly, based on the best team for English rather than Zimbabwean conditions, which might have been a better predictor of competitiveness in the WC.

        Whatever happens there were five teams in the Super Sixes who either qualified or came within a hair’s breadth of it, and the UAE and Hong Kong both achieved victories over Full Member sides (though Scotland were the only associate member to knock on the door of qualification). Countries like Canada and Namibia didn’t even make the tournament but may have been capable of their own upsets. That suggests a lot more strength in depth than a decade ago – I might grudgingly conclude the ICC has been doing something right.

        In terms of the best possible result for the development of cricket in new fields, it would probably have been a Nepal-Afghanistan double. In terms of preventing a back-slide in established ones, Windies-Zimbabwe. The fact there’s even so much tension between these objectives is the clearest reason to me for opening up more than two qualifying slots. Being part-Irish and sympathising that their best player is turning out for another team, I’d like them to pull off a stunning upset, but I do wonder what the long-term ceiling is for cricket there, particularly once their golden generation retire. Afghanistan by contrast have quite the production line going on and have a similar potential as Sri Lanka did to rise quickly to the very top of the global game. Nepal is cricket-mad and probably has more long-term potential than Ireland. On the other hand, New Zealand is an island nation that’s geographically quite cut off from all bar one Full Member, has a similar population to Ireland, is not a big market economically, and cricket is very much a minority sport there too – but they still seem to do quite well at times…

      2. A post-thought, written partly in the hope that Ireland can take 3 wickets while I’m writing it like happened with my last comment, is that while there is a proper debate to be had about the proper role of luck or randomness in the determination of a “world champion”, isn’t that also partly while we are here at all? While the new WC format was heralded as a way of avoiding mismatches and ensuring the big teams get to play each other more, for the benefit of TV audiences and advertisers alike, I’m pretty sure that small group stages and early knock-out games have at least partially been cracked down on because of the additional random variation they induce in results. This posed a commercial risk to the tournament, that a couple of freak results could produce an early exit for a key audience-drawing nation. Hence the return of the super-group, but also the necessity of pruning the competition down to 10 teams – and therefore the introduction of a qualifying tournament in which several ICC Full Members would have to take part, with at least two guaranteed to miss out. While the lower-ranked countries would love the ICC to expand the tournament again, pointing to close, exciting results and their increasing professionalism and competitiveness with established nations, I can’t see the ICC shifting in stance on tournament format if it risks one of their few really profitable markets suffering an early exit. (Perhaps by the next scheduled WC, or the one after, this will all be irrelevant because 50-over cricket will be moribund and the World T20 will be the only show in town. But unless the super-group turns out to be a boreathon of commercial failure, it’s hard to see changes to future editions.)

      3. Wickets per post: one. Though I’m sorry Mr Porterfield, I don’t think my fingers can keep typing any longer…

      4. A bold typing effort, Bail-out. I agree with pretty much all of it.

        You gave 120% and left it all out there on the field of verbiage.

        Those typing-finger splits will hurt in the morning.

  9. As Craig Overton established himself as among the greatest heroes of English cricket, you could surely not miss his courageous innings. He even inspired the English tail to a fervent resistance.

    This test match should be remembered as a heroic show of English valour, in all of its glorious quality. It is yet another of England’s finest periods on the cricket pitch.

    (End Ingcric transmission.)

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