Why England should ignore Michael Vaughan and just keep sawing

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Tree trunk (CC licensed by Daehyun Park via Flickr)

In another era, England could have embarked on this Test with no leg-spinner and little comprehension of reverse swing. Working their way through the Indian batting line-up would have been like trying to saw through a tree trunk with a butter knife. After days of toil, they’d have succeeded only in scoring the bark.

Their task still seems pretty tough, but at least they’re serrated these days. They could be sharper, they’re not exactly a power tool, but at least there’s a visible effect.

All they can really do for now is avoid thinking like the Michael Vaughans of the world and persevere. Should the pace of the game pick up in the second innings – and it might – then any kind of a head-start would be handy.

Pitches can only be slagged off after a match. Until then, we can’t be sure what is and isn’t meaningful. It’s easy to say that the pitch is ‘unfair’ right now, but a Test pitch can only be accurately assessed after day five.

Someone should tell Vaughan that you can’t get anywhere in life by echoing ill-informed opinion back at people in some sort of misguided quest for popularity.


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  1. Erm.

    ‘Well Vaughan wood say that’?
    ‘Don-tree-d Michael Vaughan’s tweets’?
    ‘Vaughan’s the cricketing equivalent of Donald Trunk’?

    Off-topic, I’m afraid I agree with the man. If there’s practically ball-all for the bowlers for the first three days, never mind if day five’s a flurry of action: it’s not a good pitch.

    1. Why does that mean it’s not a good pitch? It’s not yet been so batsman friendly that a side has declared.

      Hypothetically, let’s say you knew in advance that there was going to be a result in this match. In that situation, the outcome would be greatly shaped by perseverance and innovation while bowling in the first innings.

      If it turns out to be a runfest bore draw, we’ll criticise it, but we don’t feel we can at this point. And because we don’t know the result, we still find proceedings intriguing.

      1. Because the first three days have been dull.

        I know that Tests are meant to tell a story, and if this one does go from its current status to wicket-tumbling right-angle-spinning last-gasp draw/win, it’ll have done that. But the first three fifths of that story will have been elongated scene-setting, overwrought backstory, and three-page-descriptions of what the main character had for breakfast. You could have the best final battle and epilogue in the world after that, and it’d still have been a rubbish story.

        Hate to defend Vaughan, but I don’t think he’s wrong on this one. In your hypothetical scenario, I’d have skimmed over the last three days and started to follow when I knew stuff began to happen.

      2. Stuff is happening – wickets are falling – so we haven’t found it dull.

        Yes, the game is advancing at a far slower pace than normal, but that makes it seem all the more significant when there is a step forwards.

        What the main character had for breakfast may yet prove pivotal.

      3. There is that Agatha Christie novel where an old lady is murdered by putting poison in her medicine that doesn’t dissolve in it. So she keeps taking the syrup and it helps her till the last day where the poison’s all at the bottom and fucking kills her. I am absolutely sure this is what KC is talking about.

  2. 218 runs ahead at the end of day 3 and India have only two batsmen remaining. Headstart? They still have a slight chance of forcing an innings win. India would be elated if they get out with a draw in this game.

  3. Yeah, I’ve always said that you can’t get anywhere in life by echoing ill-informed opinion back at people in some sort of misguided quest for popularity.

    1. Some people would say that those who say that the sort of people who say you can’t get anywhere in life by echoing ill-informed opinion back at people in some sort of misguided quest for popularity while simultaneously and ironically echoing ill-informed opinion back at the people who call those people out for echoing ill-informed opinion back at people in some sort of misguided quest for popularity in some sort of misguided quest for popularity are the very worst sort of people, APW, and should be taken out and shot, but I’m not one of them.

    2. Totes agreeballs.

      You get nowhere in life by recycling half-baked opinion as a response to people in some kind of ill-conceived attempt at populism.

      Not even if you change most of the words to disguise your plagiarism.

  4. Doesn’t always have to be after five days – I judged the pitch at Trent Bridge in 2015 to be excellent after just 90 minutes.

    1. Well, there is that. Five days is the deadline, let’s say.

      Interested to see whether you retain that name should you ever decide to comment again. No reason not to really.

    2. Hello Ltr, ftpb and welcome to King Cricket. Might I say, what an excellent topic on which to break your silence.

      We need more people like you here – people who can recall such wondrous occasions in the history of English cricket. Sadly there is, to my knowledge, no-one on these pages who has any direct experience of this momentous day – at least, no-one who was there; if there were, they have also kept shtum on the subject until now.

      1. I vaguely recall hearing rumour that you were there, Bert, but I’m not sure whether you actually mentioned it or not.

        Perhaps just a passing mention that pretty much went unnoticed.

  5. I’m not criticising. This test has the building blocks of an epic. I just fear we may be a day to short

    1. 18/5 after 12.5 overs – Aussies unable to express themselves aesthetically, scoring six more runs than they should have done, or getting run out six maidens too early, whichever way you want to look at it.

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