Not too much about the first session of the 4th Test at Headingly was sane. However, the Australian selectors made a good decision immediately before the match when they included Stuart Clark. Clark bowled one ball short of seven overs and took 3-7. Good on the selectors but it is not like there are geniuses. Most people thought he should have been in from the start.
Back to the insanity. The Australian keeper was included after his mishap of Edgbaston. This time, it was the English keeper’s turn. Just before the toss, Prior went down in a screaming heap. The skippers agreed to delay the toss by 10 minutes while Prior was assessed. It turns out he was OK and the match went on. It was a good thing England won the toss and batted – it gave Prior a chance to rest. But not for long! Prior made his was to the crease after 18.3 overs.
Freddie finally succumbed to his injury and had to be left off. But opportunity beckoned for Steve Harmison of Blackpool and this may even be a pitch that suits him. We are finding out just after lunch if it suits him with the bat!! (Not much, it turns out).
Back to the insanity. A colleague asked me today, “Where is Billy Bowden these days?”. I replied, “I guess he is still around. I hope we don’t see him today.” (I’m not a big fan). I was delayed at work and was still on the train when the match started but Big Scott was kind enough to call the first ball over the phone. I’m still not a big fan of Billy Bowden after he declined a stone cold lbw with that said delivery. Not to worry – England went down like a deck of cards and were 6-72 at lunch. All of the Aussie bowlers took at least one wicket. All wickets were caught – probably a good thing given the chances of getting and lbw.
The match has a long, long way to go and Australia has not batted yet. However, immediately after lunch, conditions look good and it might have been a good toss to lose.