A Cricket Lesson

So many readers of yesterday’s post have expressed horror, disbelief, or dismay, that I may have missed the most incredibly dramatic first day of a Test  Match that the world has ever seen, or is ever likely to, that I have to say that I did watch the highlights on Channel 5 + 1, after I had published my offering. At Trent Bridge, his home county ground, Stuart Broad, watched by his father, Chris, a former England opening batsman, took eight wickets for fifteen runs as Australia were dismissed for 60 in less than two hours. Despite the loss of three early wickets, the home side replied with 274 for 4. Those unfamiliar with our national game may find this brief description of how it works. The epitome of the sport is a series of international Test Matches, each lasting five days. This no doubt stems from the idea that there are many battles in a war, and it is the final outcome that counts. First you must win a five day match, then you must win more than half the total of those in the series; always 5 between England and Australia. The current match is the fourth in the series. The tally is 2-1 to England. In each game each team of eleven players may bat twice. Each attempt with the bat is called an innings. The toss of a coin determines who bats and who bowls first. The batting side aim to score as many runs as possible; the bowlers intent is to take ten wickets (dismiss ten batsmen) as cheaply as possible. The opening innings in a match is usually a cat and mouse period, with the batsmen hoping to carry on to the next day and total 400 or more. It becomes apparent that to be all out (dismissed) on the first morning, and finish the day 214 behind, still needing to take six more wickets, before being set the unenviable task of overtaking whatever the ultimate lead was to be in order to set a reasonable target for England was an unmitigated disaster for the Aussies. This morning England advanced to 391 for 9 declared. This means that they closed their innings with one wicket left. Australia replied with 241 for 7. The match will finish in England’s favour tomorrow, probably without their having to bat a second time. Peacock on buddleia Unfortunately, I spent most of the day trying unsuccessfully to sleep off a bad headache, so all I can offer readers less than fascinated by cricket is a photograph of a Peacock butterfly on the buddleia bush, taken when I could face the sunshine. I dined on a vegetarian salad sandwich and sparkling water.


  1. I shan’t be making any comments on the cricket 🙂 But I do hope your headache is better so that you can enjoy Australia’s defeat!

  2. I haven’t checked a formal source, but I’m sure the original ashes (in the urn) are the burnt remains of a stump, not a ball (which is largely a rubberized material inside). For the benefit of cricket-unfamiliars: three stumps, close together, form the wicket that each batsman defends, and which the bowlers are aiming to hit with the ball. It’s traditional (or has become so) for winning batsmen to take away a single stump at the end of a match as a souvenir.

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